Suho pack

The Suho pack has been monitored since 2006, when two young wolves were collared. The first wolf was captured in August, the young male Noah, a pup from the 2006 litter. The remaining members of the pack were in the same valley that day, and one was seen directly before Noah's return to nature. That same evening, they were all howling together in the Ričica Valley, and the following day they moved to another location. Prior to Noah's collaring, the Suho pack, was monitored only by snow tracks and droppings. The pack was previously called Platak or the “border pack” as its territory also was in neighbouring Slovenia. The young female Mila, collared in September 2004, was believed to belong to the Platak pack, however, it was later established that she is not a member of any pack, but alone, in search of a territory and a partner. The collaring of the wolves from the Suho pack represented significant progress in the wolf research in Gorski Kotar. The monitoring of this pack provided more information on the movements, spatial distribution and number of wolves in the northern part of Gorski Kotar. Frequent trial howlings confirmed that Noah was not the only pup in this pack. Two months after Noah's capture, his brother from the same litter was captured, collared and named Grga. This pup quickly joined the other members of the Suho pack and since then, he has spent the majority of time with Noah. During 44 days of monitoring, the Suho pack covered an area of 51 km² and was also in Slovenia, all the way to Ilirska Bistrica. This is yet another indicator that cooperation is necessary between the two states that share this population in order to ensure proper management of the population.

2006 and 2007

The territory of the pack in the period autumn-winter 2006/2007 was 372 km2, which is somewhat larger than the territory of the Snježnik pack. During winter 2006/2007, the Suho pack had six wolves, including Noah and Grga. Grga's collar stopped emitting SMS text messages after 10 days, and the last data from Noah were received in mid April 2007. In September 2007, a large male called W18-Max was captured and collared. Considering that he was captured in the midst of Hilda's pack, it was believed that he was a member of the Snježnik pack. However, already within the first week, he moved to the territory of the Suho pack and remained there for several weeks. His signal was then lost for a few weeks, and he was recorded to have moved deep into Slovenia, far out of the territory of the Suho pack. Howling later confirmed that he was again in the company of several other wolves from the Suho pack, and it was concluded that Suho was Max's original pack, which he occasionally left to investigate neighbouring areas in preparing for dispersion. At the end of 2007, the only collared wolf in the pack was Max, and since monitoring showed that he occasionally left the pack, his locations did not fully represent the movements of the Suho pack, and it was determined necessary that another wolf from that pack should be collared.

2008 and 2009

In September 2008, the female W20-Tvigi was captured and collared in the Suho pack territory. Already on the next day, trial howling confirmed that Tvigi was a member of the Suho pack, and that the data from her collar were showing the movements of the entire pack. In the first 109 days of monitoring of Tvigi and the Suho pack during autumn and winter 2008/2009, 339 locations were recorded, covering an area of 210.4 km2. A smaller determined territory is the consequence of a short monitoring period. In January 2009, the Suho pack included five wolves, including the female Tvigi. Another young female named W23-Taša was collared in August 2009, and initial monitoring data indicated that she is a member of the Suho pack. After 11 September 2009, the data from her collar stopped being received, and her fate is unknown.

2010

During winter 2009/2010, there were at least seven wolves in the Suho pack territory. During summer 2010, a large number of wolf signs were found in a small area (Bačva-Ceclje) within the Croatian side of the Suho pack territory. This indicates that the pack had a gathering place in that area, which also indicates that the pack had a litter here during 2010. However, other than this, there were no direct observations that would confirm reproduction in the Suho pack. New collaring of the female Nika (on 21 August 2010) took place at this gathering area in August, though she had already disappeared in September. Unfortunately, after this, it was no longer possible to find her signal in either Croatia or Slovenia, and she disappeared before the data from her collar could be downloaded.

2011–2012

During winter 2011/2012, the Suho pack was observed to have a minimum of five wolves. In 2012, multiple signs of wolf presence were found within the territory of the Suho pack. With the capture of a male pup WP08 aged 3 months and a female W29-Ajše aged 5 months, it was confirmed that this pack had a litter in 2012. In Slovenia, scientists working on the LIFE+ SloWolf project during autumn 2011 collared a wolf named Slavc. The Slovenian Slavnik pack spends a part of its life in the Mt. Učka area of Croatia, though most of its time is spent in the Slovenian karst area. It is interesting that during 2012, the wolf Slavc went into dispersion throughout all of Slovenia and Austria, before reaching the Trento area of Italy where it took over a new territory (Figures 2 and 3).
During May 2012, experts from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb conducted research in the Gorski Kotar area. In addition to setting up traps and photo-traps, they also recorded signs of wolf presence. Throughout the entire Gorski Kotar area, fewer signs indicating wolf presences were recorded than in previous year, which was particularly true for the Snježnik pack.
 

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