Packs in Dalmatia

From 1998 to 2000, three wolves from two neighbouring packs, Opor and Vučevica, from the area inland of Kaštela, were telemetrically monitored in the Dalmatia area.

The Opor pack remained in the mountains of Opor, Praća, Ljubeč and Trištenica. Telemetric monitoring continued of the female W1-Pepa, one of the pups in the Opor pack litter of 1998 and the only wolf from this pack to be monitored. The wolf was monitored for a total of 643 days and, after she matured, she left the parental pack.

The Vučevica pack spent the most time in the densely covered and inhabited Vučevica Valley, separated from Split and Kaštela only by Mt. Kozjak. The female W2-Anja was the reproductive female of the Vučevica pack that was collared in 1999 and monitored for a total of 699 days before her collar stopped emitting a signal. In October 2000, the young male Berni was collared as a pup of Anja's from the 2000 litter. Berni was monitored for only a short time, as only 33 days after being collared, he was found dead in the hills above the village Jurići. The average territory size of the two packs monitored in Dalmatia was 150.5 km². The average daily movement of the telemetrically monitored wolves was 2.5 km/day, and the monitored females most often remained on the northern slopes of the hills or in the valley.

In February 2005, a female W11-Eva was fitted with a telemetric collar in the Imotski area. This female was found trapped in a wild boar trap that is strictly prohibited by law. With great effort, she was released, surgically treated and collared. On that same evening, she was released back to nature and she joined the Imotski pack that inhabits the area, and intensive telemetric monitoring was conducted in the following weeks and months. During the 157 days of monitoring, Eva's collar sent a total of 541 locations, of which 255 locations (47.1%) were in Croatia and 286 (52.9%) were in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Croatia, it covered a smaller area, around Runović and Imotski, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it moved up to 80 km inland to Tomislavgrad, before again returning to the border region where it spent the most time. The size of the area where the wolf was monitored was 640 km². This is three times the size of territories known up to that time to cover wolf packs in Croatia, including in Dalmatia. Eva likely spent a part of the time roaming alone, preparing to leave her pack. In August 2005, the monitoring of this pack ended when Eva was shot in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At the end of July 2009, a wolf belonging to the Kozjak pack was captured on Mt. Kozjak above Split and fitted with a collar. The territory of the Kozjak pack largely overlaps with the territory of the Vučevic pack, as monitored during 1999–2000. It was established that members of this pack had crossed the motorway several times, at multiple places, including the Osmakovac green bridge overpass. It is important to note that this was the first wolf in the area above Split to be monitored using GPS technology. The data on wolf movements and their crossing of the motorway will be compared to data on wolf movements compiled prior to the construction of the motorway.

Based on data obtained from photo-traps in 2011/2012, researcher G. Gužvica established that the number of individuals in the Vučevica/Kozjak pack is declining. As stated above, this pack used the Osmakovac green bridge. Not a single wolf crossing was confirmed on this bridge during 2013.
 

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