Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wolf and Red fox in Wigry National Park, NE Poland

by Ovidiu C Banea

After Baltica 2015 first stage, the second take home message was: 

<<<<2) The Health of the ecosystems in NW Ukraine (West Polesie) and E Poland could be another limiting factor of jackal expansion to these natural areas. The presence of owls, wolves, foxes and other mesocarnivores could explain the missing of new trophic niche for jackals. Time will tell us if this assumption could be true.>>>>

We received an e-mail from Mr Maciej Romanski (Wigry National Park) to our common mailing list of at 24th of March 2015:
Here a link to his work (Nr 11-18 pages from this report in Wigry number 1 Magazine). Evidence of wolves in this region.


I found on your pages, information about the research for golden jackal (Canis aureus) in north-eastern Poland, including the planned exploration of this species in the Wigry National Park.

I'm an worker of Wigry National Park, among other things, dealing with wolves occurring in the Wigry National Park and support foto-traps. Of course, we invite you to our area, but we should not expect success in the search for the golden jackal. The Wigry National Park have a very strong wolf population. At this time, the area of Wigry National Park is divided between the three wolf packs. The strongest is the North Pack with 10-12 individuals. 
Now, in all region wolf population is very high, traces of their presence are recorded in even small, isolated fragments of forests.

The material recorded by our photo-traps in last 2 years, set mainly in order to monitoring of wolves, have not registered any animal like a golden jackal. We registered wolves (Canis lupus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides), badger (Meles meles), american mink (Neovison vison), european polecats (Mustela putorius), european pine marten (Martes martes), etc. But cameras never recorded anything like jackal. 
Jackal who would like to go through the area of the Wigry National Park, probably soon ended up as a trophy to one of the wolf pack, like this red fox:
Who knows, maybe wolves came to boast such an unusual trophy...

Maciej Romański
Wigry National Park

Another stage to perform BAM (bio-acoustic monitoring) for the golden jackal species will be performed in autumn 2015 in NE Poland and Baltic countries. The points in Wigry we never checked were sketched for the first stage as presented below:


1) How to interpret the direct fox predation by wolves, maybe if a large prey in the area:
Ovidiu C BANEA


Very important and nice evidence of wolf carrying a dead fox, but no evidence on how it was kill.
The message of the end of your letter, when you assume that Red fox was a trophy of the Wolf pack! 
We cannot see direct predation and I am really doubt of this. Maybe a dead (or injured by hunters) fox was released. If a big trophy was captured in the area we may admit direct predation from a real pack, not family group. I would like to here other specialist opinion. I am not custom with wolf predation studies in wetlands and lowland forested areas. Are there hunting terrains surrounding Wigry area. Or, exist enough reasons to suspect such a predation? Many many thanks.

At a glance in internet:

The fox would avoid wolves presence. And anyway, if jackals killed the fox the reason would be only of killing a competitive scavenger, which is not the case here.. (diet of 2063 wolf scats attached to the message) also the full story and blog wherefrom belong these words below: here.

Wolves often ignore foxes, since foxes do not compete with wolves for food as foxes hunt much smaller animals than wolves do. However, wolves will chase away, and possibly catch, injure and kill, a fox that was caught feeding on its kill. Most foxes are fast and alert enough to get away from the wolves first. Although it is rare, wolves have been known to prey on red foxes. 

Yes, the main message we have is that Canis lupus is very well mannaged in the area and your work demonstrates this. A possible limiting factor for jackal dispersal and movement to West could be the healthy of the ecosystem as occured probably in Shatsk (NW Ukraine) Bialowietza or Wigry National Parks (NE Poland).

Thank you very much and welcome to GOJAGE!

Ovidiu C Banea
Environmental Ecologist, MSc

2) Wolves could kill foxes :
by Miha KROFEL

I think it is very possible that wolf killed the fox. We had few similar cases in Slovenia (and even more of them of Eurasian lynx killing foxes). Nevertheless, foxes (in contrast of jackals) are here very common in areas with highest wolf and lynx densities. We also regularly detect foxes scavenging at wolf and lynx prey remains (e.g. we detected fox presence at 88% of roe deer killed by lynx - and this was also during the time lynx was still returning to its prey). Here are few examples of fox recordings at prey remains from our video monitoring studies:

Best wishes,


doc. dr. Miha Krofelassistant professor & wildlife researcher
University of Ljubljana
Biotechnical Faculty, Dept. for forestry
Wildlife Ecology Research Group
Večna pot 83, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia 

Source: carnivoraforum

Mr Maciej Romanski explained after  <<<< Regarding the fox and the wolf. Subject of wolf killing the foxes is currently being discussed in the region. For several years, it has been reported from the Piska Forests (Mazury Lakeland) and  Augustow Forests (information from hunters) a significant decline in the population of foxes, while a very high number of wolves. Decrease in the number of foxes applies particularly to the central part of the large forest complexes. There is no direct evidence that these two trends are linked. But this situation is discussed. >>>>

Even so, we have to have in mind every trophic or competition relations in an environment suitable to jackal collonization, including human being. 

To develop a solid model of the golden jackal movements in central Europe would be impossible if we do not know first who eats whom and at what rate. When we will be able to find the key node species of this specific ecological systems the design of a wild story could be avoided. Until then, the other species of the jackal group, Canis latrans, the American jackal or coyote interacts with wolves in winters with low food resources. But this is another congeneric species with different feeding behaviour (here).

Friday, March 6, 2015

Baltica 2015, first stage. Golden Jackal survey in NV Ukraine and E Poland

Baltica 2015, wildlife survey in NE Ukraine and E Poland. Photoreport here.

If you know about recent golden jackal (Canis aureus) sightings in Poland, plese inform Golden Jackal Informal study Group in Europe GOJAGE at the e-mail: