Wolf Jelko’s dispersal
As already reported, we captured a young (6 month old) male wolf on November 6th 2020 on the Jelovica plateau and equipped it with a GPS/GSM collar. Since then we received quite big amount of very important and relatively unknown data about wolf activity in the Alps. We were able to closely monitor activity of his pack until the end of March 2021 when he slowly started to move away from his pack. First, he was still present on the Jelovica plateau occasionally, but mostly roaming on the western edge of the territory, probably being less and less in contact with his pack. In the beginning of April he moved approximately 75 km west to Italian Resia plateau. Interestingly, five days after Jelko crossed Soča river, another wolf was photographed crossing the road and river Soča in almost the same spot as wolf Jelko. We assume that could be his sibling who was also encouraged to leave its territory.
He tried to cross the SS13 traffic route and the Tilment river a few times, but it seems this was too much of an obstacle for him. We informed Italian colleagues from University of Udine who work in that area about, and they already made a few field inspections and found two of his kills (roe deer) in a very rough terrain in the hills upon the Resia plateau.
For now, it looks like he could stay there, however it depends on the occupation of that territory. It is not known, if there are other territorial wolves in the area. Presence of a solitary female wolf and prey abundance/availability are supposed to be important factors that affect dispersal and residency in young wolves. We will continue to closely monitor his movement and keep you informed.