When Poland banned wolf hunting, numbers doubled. But now animal scientists fear that politicians could turn back the clock.
Robert Mysłajek stops dead. Between two paw prints on a muddy mountain track, the scientist finds what he is looking for. “Scats!’’ he enthuses. Wolf sightings are so rare that a flash of faeces marks a good day, even for a seasoned tracker.
But it is getting easier. There are now an estimated 1,500 wolves in Poland. The number has doubled in 15 years. Wolves are – along with the brown bear, the lynx and the wolverine – Europe’s last large predator carnivores. Conservationists from Britain, Germany and the Netherlands are beating a path here to find out how the country has saved this protected species, slandered even in fairytales.