Distribution of the wolf in Croatia
A hundred years ago, wolves inhabited the entire territory of the present day Republic of Croatia, which is seen in the fact that the hunting statistics from 1894 indicate that at least one wolf was shot in each county of that time. In the early 1990s, wolves inhabited only Gorski Kotar and Lika, while they were believed to be absent from Dalmatia (Frković and Huber, 1992). Following this, wolf numbers began to increase, primarily due to their spread into new areas and due to increasing densities in areas where they had thrived, despite systematic extirpation attempts. In 2011, wolves were known to inhabit the areas of Gorski Kotar, Lika and Dalmatia, and they were occasionally present in the peri-Pannonian areas, southern slopes of Mt. Velebit, near Ravni Kotar, near Kaštela, and all the way to Mt. Biokovo (Kusak, 2002). In the period between 2001 and 2008, wolves were also present in the Banovina area, and in part of Karlovac County to Bosiljevo.
Wolf distribution data for 2013 estimate that the wolf regularly inhabits 18,213 km2 and occasionally appears in another 6,072 km2. The distribution of wolf populations has changed only slightly in comparison to previous years, and has been confirmed in nine counties: Sisak-Moslavina, Karlovac, Lika-Senj, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Istria, Zadar, Šibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia and Dubrovnik-Neretva.
Changes in the range area are the result of dynamics in the Dinaric population, and due to improved knowledge of the wolf population in Croatia. The dynamics of the Dinaric population also depend on the wolf management approaches taken in each of the countries sharing this population.
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