Conservation and Management of Wolves in Croatia

State Institute for Nature Protection


Wolf population number and trends in Croatia

According to estimates of experts from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, there are 130 to 170 wolves in Croatia and their population is presently stable. According to the criteria of the International Foundation for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) wolves are therefore included in the Red List of Mammals in Croatia, i.e. in the list of threatened species.

Wolf spread in Croatia

In Croatia wolves are constantly present in the areas of Gorski kotar, Lika and Dalmatia, or rather in an area of 17, 468 sq. km which is 32.4 per cent of the total surface area of the mainland part of Croatia. The area in which wolves appear occasionally and which borders on the Dinarides on the north (peripannonian region) and south side (southern slopes of the Velebit Mountain, close to Ravni kotari, Ka”tela, up to the Biokovo Mountain) covers 9,543 sq. km or 17.7 per cent of the mainland Croatia. In the area of Istria (except âiãarija and Uãka mountains), in the mainland and lowland Croatia no wolves can be found.

The wolf mortality in Croatia

By monitoring the mortality of wolves in the entire area of Croatia in the period from 1986 to 2004 the death of 115 wolves was recorded. In 84 per cent of cases the major cause of mortality is man, of which shooting accounts for 54 per cent, road kills for 28 per cent and other human causes are only sporadic. The mortality was due to natural causes in 9 per cent of the cases, of which 7 per cent relates to diseases and 2 per cent of deaths were caused by other wolves. It should be noted that this does not necessarily reflect the actual state, because mortality caused by humans is easily detected and documented, as opposed to natural mortality that remains undiscovered in most of the cases. The actual insight might only be gained if a substantial portion of the wolf population were collared and telemetrically monitored.

The number of dead wolves discovered points also to trends in the number of wolves (population trend). In the period from 1986 to 2004 the number of dead wolves found ranged from 0 to 15 a year. The wolves were least killed late in the 80s and early in the 90s of the last century, which coincides with the start of the war in the former state. At the moment of declaring the protection of wolves (1995) their number was already growing and kept growing till the year 2000, when a slight decline in the number of wolves killed, and thus in the total number of wolves too, was recorded.

The knowledge of wolves and understanding of their life and death are only some of the preconditions which, when fulfilled, make it possible to manage the population, with the aim to preserve it as one of the pieces making a mosaic of biological diversity of Croatia.

Whom to refer to for additional information, advice or help?
Regional Office for Gorski kotar and Lika

Frane Biniãkog 4
53000 Gospiç
Phone/Fax No: 053/560-524

Regional Office for Dalmatia

S. Radiça 28
22000 ·ibenik
Phone No: 022/335-563

State Institute for Nature Protection

Savska cesta 41/23, p.p. 50
10144 Zagreb
Phone/Fax No: 01/4866 187