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Gray wolf

Gray wolf (Canis lupus) is one of the local predators. Male wolves are larger than female by roughly 20-25%. The length of the body of an adult wolf averages 100-130 cm, without taking into account the tail whose length is usually in the neighbourhood of 30-50 cm. Males attain a body weight of 45-60 kg, females 30-50 kg.

Alpha male, a male wolf, on a par with its partner the she-wolf, rules the herd. They live in family groups numbering a few to several dozen individuals.

For the wolves, pregnancy lasts 60-65 days. The females give birth to puppies in burrows, cavities or on the ground, in secure dens. One litter usually contains from 4 to 7 puppies, but it is not uncommon to find litters with 12 puppies! Interestingly, when the young begin to eat solid food, all the members of the herd take care of them, providing them with food.

Remember the fairy tale of “Little Red Riding Hood”? Due to narration of this tale, as a child everyone was afraid of the wolf. When all is said and done, the wolf from the tale ravaged the main character and her grandmother (here emerges the first male model hero: the hunter). To add to this, ever since ancient times, children as well as adults have been threatened by stories of werewolves. This way, the myth of killer wolf and symbolism associated with very ugly qualities like guilt, darkness, Satan, demon, destruction, savagery, war, aggression, tenacity, and cunning emerged. The wolf as a symbol of Rome (strength and independence), fell into oblivion. As a result, hatred of an innocent wild creature was born, which nearly led to extinction of this species in Europe.

Today, thanks to reintroduction (return to nature by putting on old territories), wolves can be found in the forests of more than 20 countries. We even have to deal with the re-colonisation (independent spread of the species in the wild), not only in our country but also from Poland to Germany, Denmark, or the Netherlands. It is estimated that 1 200 individuals of the gray wolf live in the wild in Poland. Contrast this with the fact that in the 1970s there were a mere 100 individuals. However, even though they have been under protection in parts of the country since 1995, and in the whole of Poland since 1998, they still need our care.

Did you know that the natural territory of wolf families has shrunk from 260 km to 25? In addition, over 50% of reported cases of death of wolves is death “under the wheels”, while natural deaths account for less than 10%.

Three females – a mother with her daughters currently live in our zoo.

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