There had been signs of a wolf in the region near the town of Doksy. But wolves haven't roamed free in Bohemia since the late 19th Century.
An environmental expert said the animal might have strayed into Bohemia from the border regions of Germany and Poland, where the wolf population has been thriving.
Although only one wolf was sighted, the conditions in Bohemia's former military zones and in the mountainous border regions could be good for breeding. The expert was enthusiastic since wolves can regulate the deer population and generate tourists.
Though once abundant over much of North America and Eurasia, the gray wolf inhabits less of its former range because of widespread habitat destruction, human encroachment, and the resulting encounters. Today, wolves are protected in some areas, hunted for sport in others, or may be subject to extermination as perceived threats to people, livestock and pets.
Transylvania has the largest wolf population in Europe. In fact the total population there is greater than all the wild wolves of western Europe put together. I wonder if that's where the Transylvanian werewolf legend originated.
Wolves were abundant throughout the forests of mainland Europe during the 18th century.
But a vast cull almost wiped them out in central and northern European countries during the 19th century and the post World War II period. There is now an estimated population of between 18,000 and 25,000 wolves left in the wilds of Europe. That's not many compared to the human population.
They hunt in large packs, relying on a keen sense of smell and teamwork to catch prey, from moose to deer to wild boar. When chasing prey, they run at around 40mph, can continue for an hour until their quarry runs out of steam, hear their prey’s heartbeat from several meters away and can judge when their target is petrified. This is when the pack makes their kill. The highly intelligent animals have been known to fill their mouths with snow when stalking to avoid steam from their breath which might give them away to their prey.
Wolves were once present in Great Britain. Early writing from Roman and later Saxon chronicles indicate that wolves appear to have been numerous on the island. Skeletal remains indicate that they may have grown as large as Arctic wolves. The species, which threatened livestock, human life and frequently desecrated burial sites, was exterminated from Britain through a combination of deforestation and active hunting through bounty systems. So sad that the human population expanded to take over the whole island, leaving no room for an outsider, particularly a predator.
The United States as a whole has up to 9,000 wolves which are increasing in number in all their ranges. USA wolf recovery has been so successful that the Fish & Wildlife Service removed the western gray wolf from the federal endangered species list in 2008.
To me, the wolf represents intelligence, power, stealth and beauty. I'm glad the animal is returning to wild spots around the world. The Earth's environment needs diversity. I hope they can live in peace.