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Wolves Back in Czech Republic After a Century of Absence

DOKSY, Czech Republic — A hidden tree camera has snapped the image of a wolf in a rural town of the the Czech Republic.

The sighting comes a century after the feared canid disappeared from the region. The city of Doksy lies in Central Bohemia and it has near 1,200 inhabitants.

Even though the picture suggests there is only one or two wolves in the area, the population could be growing considerably in the following years. According to Miroslav Kutal, Czech branch of the environmental group Friends of the Earth, the former military zone and mountainous range of the area is the perfect environment for the predators to reproduce.

Map of Wolf Distribution
Map of Wolf Distribution

“For now we only have this one picture of a wolf and several signs of occurrence, so we think there could be one wolf or maybe a pair. Further research is needed to prove if there is a pack or only dispersals,” he told Radio Prague. “In general it is a positive message. Also wolves are quite attractive for a lot of tourists, so I think in some border regions wolves can help with promotion of the region,” he explained.

Wolves, often blamed for undocumented cattle and human attacks, have been a subject of controversy in Europe for centuries. Hunters and farmers exterminated the population during the 18th century and post World War II period. The largest populations remain in eastern Europe, primarily in Romania, the Balkans and Poland.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker by Jacob H. Studer, John Graham Bell, Frank Chapman, Theodore Jasper
Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

But Kutal now believes the problem could come from poachers, looking to kill the animals in order to profit from their skins.

The media, he says, has been generally positive about the advent of the carnivore. “In general it is a positive message. Also wolves are quite attractive for a lot of tourists, so I think in some border regions wolves can help with promotion of the region,” he added.

This is also good news for cryptozoologists because animals that were once believed to be extinct have now been spotted alive. This is the case of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker or the Japanese Wolf, extinct since 1889. A most recent case is the one of the Eastern Cougar, declared extinct in 2011, although people often report seeing the feline in Connecticut.

Recently, Idaho passed a bill to eliminate wolves in the region, which prompted the public to start a signature campaign in order to demand an end to the animal’s persecution.

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