The “Kontaktbüro Wolfsregion Lausitz” (Contact Office “Wolves in Saxony”)
After 150 years of absence in Germany the first free living wolf pack was re-established in the year 2000 in Saxony. Since then wolves have been dispersing in Saxony and into other parts of Germany. With the recovery of wolves in cultivated landscape the challenge is to deal with prejudices, changes in herding methods and human fears. To fight a lot of false information and questions about wolves by the public, the “Kontaktbüro Wolfsregion Lausitz” (Contact Office “Wolves in Saxony”) was established by the Saxon State Ministry of Environment and Agriculture in 2004 as the main information center about wolves for public, media and authorities. It is in the responsibility of the regional county government of Görlitz.
As part of the wolf action plan for Saxony in 2009 the public relations have been carried out by the Contact Office “Wolves in Saxony” since then. All information obtained by the monitoring and about livestock protection is collected in the Contact Office and made available to the public. The claim is to deliver information about wolf biology, behaviour, distribution and livestock protection methods to the public in an objective and factual way.
The Contact Office gives lectures to mixed audiences and special interest groups like hunters, farmers and environmentalists. A large effort is taken also in the environmental education of children and students. The office also produces press releases and regularly written newsletters and it maintains the website www.wolfsregion-lausitz.de, which is always updated with current information about the distribution, scientific projects, livestock depredations or recorded reproductions in packs. A wolf museum, which offers people the possibility to inform themselves on wolves by ways of an exhibition and different movies on wolves and their recovery in a man used landscape, is also maintained by the Contact Office. Another responsibility is to supply the trained staff of each Saxon county with information and to help them with the public relations in their respective county.
Wolf management in Saxony
Germany is a federalist country. Although Large Carnivores are listed as strictly protected by the Federal Nature Conservation Act the enforcement of the protection relies on the German Länder. Regional Wolf management plans without population targets are implemented or will be implemented soon in 10 of 16 Länder.
As one of the first, the wolf action plan in Saxony was developed between October 2008 and May 2009. This was a communicative and participative process in which representatives of more than 60 thematically affected associations, organisations, action groups, authorities and scientific institutions were involved with.
The goal is an action plan that is based on a broad consensus with guidelines for damage limitation and conflict resolution. Wolves do not need management, e.g. improvement of habitat. Therefore the wolf management's goal is to help improve coexistence of wolves and people.
The wolf management consists of three pillars: wolf monitoring and research, public relation work and the prevention, assessment and compensation of livestock loss. For each pillar a core competence is responsible for collecting all information. The Das Kontaktbüro stellt sich vor is the core competence for public relation work. Here all information from monitoring and livestock prevention is collected and made available to the public. The core competence for wolf monitoring is the LUPUS institute for wolf monitoring and research in Germany. The leading consultant regarding livestock protection and compensation is André Klingenberger from the State forestry department (Sachsenforst).
The monitoring, public relation and livestock prevention/assessment is supported by the trained staff of the county districts, as well as trained volunteers from forestry, NGOs, hunting etc. The realization of the management lies with the county districts, but the Ministry for Environment and Agriculture is still responsible for the wolf management.
Wolves in Germany
In the monitoring year 2014/2015 (from May 1 2014 - April 30 2015), a total of 45 wolf territories were confirmed in Germany. In 31 areas reproduction was confirmed (wolf pack); in 13 areas resident wolves (pairs or lone wolves) without reproduction were confirmed.
Of these confirmed wolf territories, 10 wolf packs and 1 territorial lone wolf had their territory entirely or for the largest part in Saxony.
The wolves in Germany together with the wolves in Western Poland belong to the Central European Lowland Population. In Western Poland in the winter 2014/2015 a total of 33 wolf packs and 4 pairs were confirmed by the Association for Nature WOLF (AfN Wolf).