Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

A preliminary assessment of net box traps to catch gray wolves in Lower Saxony, Germany

The number of gray wolves (Canis lupus) in Lower Saxony, Germany, has increased since they recolonized the region in 2007, and developing appropriate management strategies requires accurate information on wolf habitat use. As research on space use and foraging ecology necessitates capture, tagging, and tracking of wolves, we evaluated the feasibility of using cage traps to catch animals unharmed. Due to legal restrictions in Germany, especially concerning body-grasping traps (e.g., foothold traps and foot snares), we developed an alternative trapping system. From July 2018 to December 2020, we installed net box traps at different locations in Lower Saxony. However, our study was disrupted and traps were removed prematurely because of human activities and sabotage. Although we did not capture any wolves, we photographically documented wolf pups entering our net box traps on seven occasions and suggest that young wolves can potentially be captured in our net box traps. We believe our work opens the possibility for further trapping options to improve future research on European gray wolves.

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