The Iberian wolf is currently one of the most threatened carnivores in the Iberian Peninsula. It is classified as "Least concern" regarding its worldwide conservation status by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) but the last update for Portugal (Red Book of Vertebrates of Portugal) consider this species as "Endangered”, with a population of around 300 individuals.
In historical terms, until the beginning of the 20th century this species occupied the whole Iberian Peninsula; however, the distribution area declined drastically over the years, having suffered a fragmentation and a population decline, especially during the 20th century.
Currently in Portugal, the Iberian wolf is distributed only in the northern part of the country, with the largest number of packs situated north of the Douro River.
The fact that sometimes the closest and available prey are domestic herbivores, makes it a hated and persecuted animal, and coexistence with humans is very complicated to manage. It is in this management that the Iberian Wolf Expedition by Bioinsight will also play a key role.
The study area on which this expedition will take place, Vinhais, is part of the Montesinho Natural Park area, and is in the immediate vicinity of two potential sites for the occurrence of packs. According to the last national census, 13 packs that partially or totally occupied the study area were confirmed, and 3 packs were considered as probable in this region.
There is a lack of a continuous updating of this data, and this is one of the main points of the project.
The work to be developed during the expeditions aims to better understand the habitat of this species and of its prey, as well as its population dynamics, thus allowing to infer the quality of the ecosystem.
As an example, we intend to understand what is the real situation of the Iberian wolf population (number of packs and their distribution, to confirm breeding sites and to know ecological corridors) in Vinhais area,. In addition to this, we intend to understand the diet of the wolves in the area, to know the distribution and density of wild prey and to know the livestock reality of Vinhais and to identify and evaluate potential losses caused by this carnivore.
To achieve these project goals, during the scientific expeditions we will use the following methodologies: camera trapping, vehicle and walked transects for prospection of Iberian wolf and other mammal’s evidences, howling stations and habitat characterization, all by daily and night surveys.
With these concrete measures we want to contribute to the conservation of an entire web of trophic and ecological relationships that help populations of this iconic species. Human population awareness to the importance of the Iberian wolf and the consequent management of the wolf-man relationship will also play an essential role in the expedition and conservation of this animal.
To do this we will focus on knowing the livestock reality in the area and the incidence of wolf damage losses, to collect cultural elements and traditions related to the wolf, to improve the methods of prevention of wolf attacks to the cattle, and to realize which economic activities can benefit from the presence of the wolf.
Be part of this project and contribute for the Iberian Wolf Conservation. Take a look at our available Expeditions.