On the trail of Geralt: Wolf Workshop Poland
“Education for Conservation” is also very important for our wolf project in Poland. Thus, the SAVE team Poland under the leadership of Dr. Roman Gula organized a workshop on the ecology of the wolf for journalists and other interested parties.
The focus was on “Geralt”, one of the wolves that the team had transmitted with a GPS collar for research purposes. It went out into the Świętokrzyska forest to follow Geralt’s tracks.
The group fought their way through the thicket of the forest to the place where Geralt had been located the day before. After only a few hundred meters, they discovered the first wolf tracks on the path. Then another clue that Geralt is probably still in the vicinity: the tracks of a freshly torn deer. Besides the meat meal, they also found chewed berries and fruits – a confirmation that wolves are by no means pure carnivores, but that plant food is also on their menu.
At some point there was suddenly a smell of carrion in the air. The group came across a gnawed carcass. Another clue to Geralt’s presence appeared only a few hundred meters away: a wolf’s den, into which fresh leaves had been worked. Geralt had slept in it the previous day for a few hours before moving on – the GPS data had shown that.
A later evaluation of the data showed that although the group was following in Geralt’s footsteps, the wolf himself was already several kilometers away at that time. He was visiting his parents.
When the group then returned to base camp in the afternoon, the participants discussed the fragmentation of the wolves’ habitat and the dangers of poaching with the wolf researchers.
Before evening, everyone headed into the forest again. Just before sunset, they drove near the rendezvous site of a wolf family. Telemetry data confirmed that the animals must be close by. However, despite imitating the wolf’s howl, the wolves did not respond.
Education of a broad public by the journalists, profound info on wolf ecology and protection measures of the SAVE wolf project, clearing up myths and fairy tales – these were the goals of the field research day. “Education for species conservation” (E4C) consisted this time not only in theoretical teaching. The impressive experiences in the cold, starry night would remain long and lasting memories of all participants of the wolf workshop.