Wolves prefer military sites to nature reserves, according to a study. Troop relocation sites are not a problem for the animals, even when they are being pushed around.
"This is a predictable disturbance for all animals," ilka reinhardt, head of the study, told the deutsche presse-agentur in dresden on monday.
Between 2000 and 2015, 16 of a total of 79 new wolf territories were created on military land. In contrast, the robbers chose nature reserves as a habitat only 9 times. The remaining reserves were located in other areas. Meanwhile, wolves live on 13 of 21 troop training sites with an area of 30 square kilometers or more. With similarly rough nature reserves it is only 8 of 55.
Researchers assume that the wolfish preference for military areas has to do with the lower presence of hunters there – although as a strictly protected species they were not allowed to be shot anyway. But again and again there are illegal firings. In their analysis, the scientists found that wolf mortality is lower on military lands than in conservation areas.
Vanessa ludwig from the "wolves in saxony" contact office confirmed that the predators get along well with military terrain. "Wolves feel comfortable on troop training grounds because there are no other disturbances there due to the cordoning off above the military activities," said the expert. Walkers, cyclists or mushroom pickers, on the other hand, are much more stressful for wildlife.
Since the wolf’s prey also feel at home in military territory for the same reasons, the food supply for the predators is also coarser, ludwig explained. Wolfe registered exactly, where hunts take place and remembered that. According to ilka reinhardt, the animals are also capable of picking up on preparations for pushes and going into hiding in good time.
At the troop training area in oberlausitz, saxony, people are already joking: the wolves knew the shifting times better than many a soldier, a former commander once said. There are no special rules for dealing with wolves. "Basically there are no problems in living together" with the wolf as a wild animal and the service of the federal armed forces on the training ground", he said.
According to the general rule, however, they are no longer shot when animals are sighted in a protected area. "This means, the pushing operation in the sharp shot on the respective pushing track will be interrupted until the wild animal is no longer endangered," announced the state command of saxony. In addition, it is forbidden to dispose of food waste in the forest, so that no animals are attracted.
The german hunting association doubted a connection between hunting and the escape of wolves. "The main factor for the occurrence of the wolf is the food availability: as an efficient hunter, the wolf wants to have great success with as little hand as possible," explained association spokesman torsten reinwald. There are even indications that wolves specifically look for departure after movement hunts.
Around 100 years after the last observation of a wolf in saxony, such an animal was sighted again for the first time in 1996 – at the troop rearing ground in oberlausitz in the district of gorlitz. According to the federal office for nature conservation, there are 73 wolf packs, 30 wolf pairs and three sedentary individuals in germany according to the latest data. Most live in saxony, lower saxony and brandenburg.
Troop training areas in general – not only in germany – can be valuable refuges of biodiversity, where species flourish that are hardly found elsewhere in the country. Some of the flats have huge expanses and are barely cut by roads, and they are often largely deserted for long periods of time. A well-known example is the huge salisbury plain training area in southern england. In the military area, which has existed for more than 100 years, many endangered species have survived that have long since disappeared elsewhere.