Boglárka Amrein Tamásné Miskolczi | Horticultural engineer and sociologist | 05.01.2024
In many regions of Europe, wolves are appearing more and more differently, hundreds of kilometers away from already known habitats. It's advertised on TV, it's shared on social media platforms, and we start to fear – and harm the environment – without actually knowing what it is: we're not even involved.
Most people are afraid of wolves, and humanity began to hunt this magnificent predator – mostly due to false beliefs. After successive illegal falls, we suddenly realized this
We can cry wolf anywhere and anytime: we rarely meet them in our country.
Someone from neighboring Slovakia or even from distant Poland can visit us – in such cases we usually read about the “danger” in the press – but more than once the animal is driven out or shot. However, those who know this will quickly change this, because the lack of large carnivores is already evident in our country's ecosystem. When there is a wolf in the country, there is something to be happy about! This is also why Bokke National Park is such a good read Lines: “The condition of many beech assemblies, threatened with extinction and greatly damaged by wild huntable species, has improved significantly in the last few years, since wolves were present in the mountains” – the animals also help forest workers in their settlement and presence.
The large carnivores in our forests regulate the functioning of the ecosystem “from above”, through so-called trophic cascades. The essence of this phenomenon is that the fauna and physical appearance of an area change due to changes at the top of the food chain.
All of this can be best understood through an example: Wolves in 1995 Installed To Yellowstone Park. They did this because in the past 70 years, due to the lack of wolves, the deer that had bred completely destroyed the park's plants. A very large herd of deer “grazes” almost the entire area, and despite all human interventions, the situation has not changed. Finally, wolves, the apex predators of the forest, arrived, and although they killed a few deer, their greatest impact was not in this. And so much more in their mere presence They affected the cycle of nature.
- Influencers for example On the behavior of deer also. Deer began to avoid areas where they felt threatened, allowing these ravines and ravines to recover. Experts also noted that in those herds of ungulates that were far from the wolves, but over time came close to the predator again, I slept The percentage of healthy animals, which may lead to higher pregnancy rates and higher birth rates. Think about it: the predator's prey will be the weakest, sickest and least prepared individuals, so the chances of survival and healthier, more developed individuals increase, which may also increase the chances of survival of the following populations. Another positive effect stems from this: ungulates In overcoming his illnesses They play an important role. If the number of herbivores becomes too large, they may become more susceptible to disease, because many pathogens spread more easily in crowded populations.
- After introducing wolves to regeneration areas in just six years The trees grew fivefoldBirch forests are formed in dry areas, The birds and the beaver have returned, Which, thanks to its constructive activity, has created a habitat for many other species, including muskrats, ducks, otters, fish and amphibians.
- The presence of wolves He pushed the jackal backAs a result, rodents and rabbits have returned, which has also brought raptors back to the area, and has also helped restore fox and badger populations.
- In the expanding living community The sweeping birds are backYou can see crows and eagles again.
- No less The bear has arrived – The regenerating plants provided the forest inhabitants with delicious food, so even a bear could find a suitable habitat in the garden.
- Changes in the natural environment due to the presence of wolves They had a great influence: River wildlife has also started on the road to recovery. The increasingly powerful natural environment was able to play its regulatory and guiding role more strongly. Rivers returned to their sources, their banks stabilized, and the rate of erosion decreased.
So wolves do a lot more to protect our environment than we thought, so why should we keep them away at all costs?
In defense of the man?
In the ever-expanding built environment, with the human world forcefully encroaching on the natural landscape, we are simply making impossible a living space that seeks the balance that nature would so graciously give us. Through our daily actions, we pretend to destroy the building, and in the meantime, indignantly, we cast aside everything and everyone who stands in the way of our plans. However, ecology is a complex matter, especially the network system, to date practically indecipherable. But knowing this, why do we think we are above something we don't even know? Why do we think we can determine who has a place in nature and who does not?
Don't get me wrong: I understand farmers' concerns, I feel the suffering of dead farm animals, and I know the void a deceased pet leaves in our hearts. I see the problems – but I also understand the system of nature and accept that you need food to survive. We are surprised when a bear comes to town, a jackal appears on the edge of the village, and then perhaps wolves rummage through the garbage, but in such cases, we must remind ourselves: animals do not do this in a happy mood. Thank you very much, they will be perfect in the forest (if there is one), in society and in the habitat in which nature created them. I would happily avoid the human race (by a long shot), and I suspect our pets wouldn't either (especially not to a great extent) if the forest meant and included what it should. But we humans don't make this possible.
Thus, the focus is not on what to do with wolves, but on how we can create a livable space for them and how we can ensure the balanced and dynamic functioning of nature – among other things, so that our coexistence becomes possible. When we are afraid of them, we focus on exterminating them, and we have to think about how we got here and what we must do differently so that there is room in the world for someone other than humans.
Of course, this doesn't mean that wolves should dominate the landscape, or that they should be introduced en masse – there is no such thing! The focus is always on nature, balance and the dynamics of subtle interactions. It is man's responsibility to find his place again in the working order created by nature – so that all other elements can find their place as well.
What to do if you see a wolf? How to behave, what to do and what not to do? The specialists at Bokke National Park are everything To a question They answer.
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