Wolves in Poland
The wolf has been protected throughout Poland since 1998. Now, according to official data, there are about 1,200 wolves in whole Poland.
The Polish wolf population makes up the western-most range of a large, continuous Eastern European wolf population, which has retained a high level of genetic diversity. In other areas of occurrence of this species in Europe, e.g. Italy, France, Spain or Sweden, populations are more isolated, limited in number and genetic diversity, and very sensitive to environmental changes. Poland, due to its location in the central part of Europe, is one of the most important refuges of this carnivore, and is an important source of dispersing individuals to regions where it was eradicated many years ago. Analyses of changes in wolf range in the twentieth century, genetic studies on wolves in Poland, radiotelemetry and GIS analyses show that wolf migration and dispersal in Poland occurs along latitudinal migration corridors. These findings resulted in a project of protection of migration corridors for big terrestrial mammals in Poland.
Studies conducted in Poland reported that wolves require large areas to function. In the Bialowieża Forest wolf pack territories can cover 200-300 km2, and in the Carpathians 100-150 km2. Analyses have shown that it is not possible to preserve a viable population of these predators entirely within protected sites, as the areas are too small. Therefore long-term conservation of this species needs to focus on managed forests, which make up 28% of the area of Poland. The majority of wolf territories include forests, where the impact of intensive logging, tourism, and recreation is visible. Recently wolf habitats and migration corridors have been seriously threatened with disruption by rapid development of transportation infrastracture to ensure the effective connection of Poland with other EU countries through the Trans-European Transportation Network (TEN-T).
Wolf range in Poland, 2015