Climate a new threat for Poland’s wolves-expert

December 6, 2008


By Piotr Pilat


Climate change worries Professor Andrzej Bereszynski of the Poznan Agriculture Academy, who runs a 30-year-old wolf sanctuary.


He fears that global warming could take a new toll on the elusive predator — almost hunted to death across much of Europe.


Warming of the fragments of the globe where wolves still survive will surely dramatically influence their life,” said Bereszynski.


“Areas with coniferous trees will be replaced by deciduous forests. Their prey will change, first unnoticeably, later maybe more substantially. We comfort ourselves that the wolf is a very adaptive animal but with the huge anthropogenic pressure that we are registering it might reach its own limit.”


“Talking about climate change we have to worry about all animals and also the wolf because it is a rare animal endangered in Poland and Europe.”


The sanctuary is about 50 km from Poznan, where representatives of 187 countries are meeting to try and inject pace into the global response to climate change to try and agree a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.


Wolves have been a protected species in Poland since 1998. By hunting them and burning their forest habitats people have pushed wolves to the edge of extinction in Europe. They are afraid of people and avoid them whenever possible.


“Humans have a giant influence on the habitat and migration of wolves. You can put it this way: wherever there are humans or a high population of humans, there are almost no wolves. The wolf can be found wherever there are people.”


“As forest areas become more densely populated, tourist trade and deforestation, the wolf loses its habitat, being an animal extremely shy, timid, incredibly afraid of humans. Some say that the wolf needs a dense and remote forest.”


The centre is in Poland’s largest forest, the Notecka forest, and is on a major wolf migration route. The centre has 12 wolves which come from various sources – some were born in other such facilities, sometimes cubs were handed over by hunters who discovered their mother was killed by poachers.


The largest population of wolves is in Eastern and South – Eastern Poland (Carpathian Mountains).

The main purpose of the sanctuary is research, but the wolves are tamed to interact with people. Additional income for the research centre comes from visitors. Normally nobody is allowed into the cages. Some 4500 people visited last year.


The wolves are fed beef or pork bought from local butchers, occasionally road kill from surrounding forests (in the pictures a young boar). They like to hunt so small birds which enter the enclosure soon become snacks.


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The population of Man is ever increasing and few of us show concern as the rest of life on this planet declines. It is no secret that most habitat destruction on the planet is anthropogenic. Has it not occurred to us that when all the animals are gone we will visit the same fate upon ourselves?

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Biodiversity and Extinction
Population growth and consumption patterns, which lead to increased demand for ecosystem services and energy, are the most important influences impacting biodiversity. These factors result in direct ecosystem impact, particularly on species and genetic resources. Human activities change the living and non-living objects of ecosystems and these pressures have increased significantly in recent decades.

Catalysts and stresses interact cooperatively. Their impact on biodiversity vary by region. Catalysts and pressures act on wide-ranging time and location scales. For example, sediments from deforestation in the headwaters of the Amazon River in South America have impacts in the Atlantic Ocean, changing the nutrient availability of the ocean.

The factors creating loss of biodiversity are connected to the increasing demand for worldwide energy. The developed nations have high levels of per capita energy use and large emerging economies have energy growth potential. Energy demands affect biodiversity from two different perspectives, the production and distribution of energy and the uses of energy. For instance, biofuel plantations, fossil fuel exploration, pipeline construction, uranium and coal mining, hydroelectric dam construction and wood fuel harvesting typically cause biodiversity loss on land and in the ocean.

The issue of the impact of global climate change on ecosystems is analyzed in detail at and the associated environmental and energy forum of One
Biodiversity over the next few decades will depend on human activities, land use changes and energy production. These activities will be affected by our improved knowledge of ecosystem services, development of energy alternatives to fossil fuels and the importance placed on the environment and conservation throughout the globe. It appears that extinctions may continue at high rates, thereby causing up to 5 percent of worldwide bird species and similar proportions of amphibians and fish may follow the extinction path in 20-50 years.

Posted by Georg Jensen | Report as abusive

I have to say that I am absolutely suprised about the unresponsiveness of the enviromentalists and the critical danger of these wolves’.

I am no expert, and will never claim to be, however; in my own State I see the impact of global warming, human consumption and waste on the wildlife.

Our wolves can be noted as extinct. Our redfoxes are almost at the same point. In fact, most of our wildlife is in danger; and I live in a state that has huge land and minimal population.

That has to give us thought as to how we are treating our Gift of Life in all forms.

We cannot do anything as a singular person to help, but when we band together…. we can make change happen.

Georg, the only thing your post has to offer is a defense for human consumption and an excuse for what is happening not only with the Poland wolves’, but also an excuse for humanity gone awry in all areas respecting nature.

You talk about biodiversity as if it is an absolute if we follow rules 1, 2, 3…. you are wrong. We have damaged so much that it will be a miracle if these Wolves’ are able to repopulate in the wild; enough to create that ‘diversity’ and continue growing.

I can also put up link after link after link about facts.

My question to you….
Have you been out there and seen the decline? Or are you just one of those people who read and sit back and do nothing?

Posted by GrayWolf | Report as abusive

do you know that in Romania is the biggest population of wild wolves from all the Europe.

Posted by radu | Report as abusive