A wolf run over by a car was recovered in the Mantua area, Italy
A female wolf at Easter was run over in Bigarello, in the province of Mantua. The she-wolf, initially mistaken for a Czechoslovakian wolfdog, was taken to the Levata veterinary clinic and operated on. The veterinarians’ suspicions as to the animal’s real identity triggered a network of cooperation in the area and, thanks to the support of Regione Lombardia, Carabinieri Forestale and Gruppo Naturalistico Mantovano, specialized in the rehabilitation of injured wolves for subsequent release into the wild.
The Mantua area, like other areas of the Po Valley, is experiencing an increasingly frequent presence of wolves. In Lombardy, the species is not new: packs are present in Oltrepò Pavese, Alto Lario and in the Brescia area on the border with Trentino. Lombardy, at the crossroads of different expansion routes and until now marginally interested in this phenomenon, is now seeing an increase in reports of the species throughout the territory, even in lowland environments. After the wolf reported last summer in Viadana, there have been recent documented sightings of single individuals and investments, as in this case. In the last two years in Lombardy, 3 injured wolves have been recovered and released, while 4 others have been found run down.
The wolf is a species with a marked adaptability and learning ability, able to make the best use of available resources. In a territory where the human presence is sto strong, such as the Po Valley, as it has already been documented in the nearby Emilia-Romagna plain, the wolf, as well as passing through, can manage to establish itself where there are suitable refuge sites (e.g. wooded or bushy areas, even of limited extension) and availability of food resources.
It is a species that is naturally distrustful of humans, so it is essential to avoid any attempt to make contact, as well as any disturbance, approach or feeding activities (direct or indirect, such as food waste left unattended); these behaviours are also prohibited by law as well as potentially damaging to the safety of both wolves and humans.
A video published in the local press shows the wolf in the clinic being stroked by the vet. We would like to point out how questionable it is to exploit videos such as this one, shot just after the injured animal was recovered, when the vets had not yet had a chance to verify that the animal handed over to them as a dog was in fact a wolf.
It should be emphasised that proper behaviour towards wild animals always implies maximum respect for their wild and elusive nature in relation to humans, especially when the animal is under stress because it is injured or in difficulty. The use of images to convey content that is suggestive of inappropriate contact is therefore deeply ambiguous and uneducational.