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In search of a wolf’s prey

19 January 2022
University of Ljubljana

Wolf Jelko has been present in the wider area of the Resia region, from the Slovenian-Italian border to the Tilment River, over the last eight months. We decided to research this area and look for wolf’s prey. At the end of November 2021, Igor Volk, the head of the Kobarid Hunting Club joined our team on a field visit in the area of Kobariški Stol Mountain. While he introduced us to his hunting ground – the terrain where Jelko moves, we were able to tell him more about the movements of this wolf. Jelko’s telemetry collar indicated that he was moving more frequently in certain locations, so we assumed that he might have a prey there, and that he was staying longer in these places to feed. The aim of the field visit was to inspect these locations, find any prey remains, and collect scats for genetic studies.

In search of a wolf’s prey - Life Wolfalps EU
Field visit with Igor Volk, the head of the Kobarid Hunting Club. Photo: Manca Velkavrh

At the first site, we found only the remains of the rumen contents; probably deer or roe deer. The prey remains were probably found by wild boar, as there is usually not much left after their visit. We then drove in the off-road vehicle towards the ridge of Kobariški stol and from there continued on foot towards the top of the hill. Potential prey locations lay further along the ridge. All the time, the panorama of rocky and grassy hilltops and mountains was opening up, with the Soča and the Nadiža rivers in the valleys.

In search of a wolf’s prey - Life Wolfalps EU
The panorama of rocky and grassy hilltops and mountains. Photo: Manca Velkavrh

On the way, we met several chamois, which quickly spotted us and retreated. The presence of a wolf (predator) also affects its prey by making it more wary and timid. The GPS guided us to a steep slope where we found deer droppings and a rather obvious resting place in the beech leaves. The wolf was probably just resting here, as it would be difficult to hunt his prey on such a slope. Nevertheless, he is succeeding to some extent, as the telemetry collar data show that he is moving in areas where the slopes are quite steep.

We did not manage to find any wolf’s prey that day, but we learnt more about where the wolf moves.

In search of a wolf’s prey - Life Wolfalps EU
Photo: Manca Velkavrh