Wild population of wolves in Italy grows in size

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The Wolf population in Italy consists of 3,300 individuals split between the mountain ranges of the Alps and the Apennines. 

There are more wolves in the wild now than ever since the Italian government began protecting the endangered species in the country more than four decades ago. The Italian wolf, often known as the Apennine wolf (Canis lupus italicus or Canis lupus lupus), is a subspecies of the grey wolf unique to the Italian Peninsula.

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The first national monitoring conducted by Ispra (National Institute for Environmental Prevention) confirmed the increase in the wolf population throughout Italy. Today there are over 3,300 wolves throughout the peninsula, two-thirds in the Apennine ridge and one-third in the Alps, where their population has grown more rapidly. The wolf is a species strictly protected by international (EEC ‘Habitat’ Directive 1993/43, Bern Convention) and national (l. 157/92, DPR 357/97) and this protection has contributed significantly to the demographic geographical recovery.

The wild population of wolves in Italy

Ispra carried out the monitoring between 2020 and 2021. “If we calculate the extent of the wolf presence areas (41,600 square kilometers in the Alpine regions and 108,500 square kilometers in the peninsular regions), it can be said that the species occupies almost all of the suitable environments in peninsular Italy. The wolf population has grown everywhere, in the Alps the most significant increase “.

The wolf population in the Alpine regions is estimated to be between 822 and 1,099 individuals, and between 2,020 and 2,645 individuals in peninsular areas.

AreaEstimate
Alpine region area946 (822 – 1099)
Italian peninsular area2388 (2020 – 2645)
Total3307 (2945 – 3608)

The monitoring was conducted by dividing the national territory into cells of 10×10 kilometers and carrying out two separate analyzes for the Regions-Autonomous Provinces of the Alps area and the Regions of peninsular Italy. The presence of the wolf, says Ispra, “has been documented by 6,520 photographic sightings with camera traps, 491 ungulate carcasses preyed upon by the wolf, 1,310 tracks, 171 dead wolves, as well as by 16,000 excrements found on the ground. 1,500 genetic analyzes were conducted which made it possible to identify the species. A total of 85,000 kilometers were traveled on foot to collect the data necessary for the investigation “.

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