Report of the 2011-2012 winter follow-up:
The number of Zones of Permanent Presence is increasing: 29 ZPP this year against 27 the last year.
19 are occupied by packs.
Three new ZPP are identified: Ecrins-Vallouise (05) where two individuals live since two winters, Madres-Boucheville (66) where one wolf has been genetically identified this winter and Hautes-Vosges (88-68-70) where sixteen signs of presence confirmed the presence of two individuals.
No ZPP was downgraded this winter but two are merged (Trois Evêchés-Ubaye et Haut Verdon-Bachelard) because of the breakdown and the geographical reorganization. The new ZPP identified is called Trois Evêchés-Bachelard.
In addition, 2 ZPP have no sign this winter and they could be downgraded if the situation recur the next winter: Taillefer-Luitel (38) and Ouest Var (83).
- Localisation of the zones of permanent presence of the wolf at the end of the winter 2011-2012 in the Alps, in the Pyrenees and in the Vosges
The Numeral indicator EMR (minimum number of individuals) counts from 89 to 94 wolves. It is the minimum number of wolves living in France.
Based on the average, it shows an increasing of the population of 17% in comparison to the winter 2010-2011.
- Detailed report of the 2011-2012 winter follow-up in the last Quoi de neuf n°27 - july 2012 (p. 13 to 21)
Report of the 2011 summer follow-up:
Objective: To detect the presence of juveniles of the year (= reproduction YEs/NO) in identified wolves’ group in ZPP the last winter 2010-2011 and to measure the reproduction’s success.
The report of this year shows an increase compare to last year. The wolves were eared in 19 areas (14 in 2010) and the reproduction was confirmed in 14 of those (9 in 2010).
The percentage of reproductive groups detected with this method is 73 %. Prospectings were sometimes difficult because groups used different rendezvous sites from the last year and distant. Once again, using recent signs (collected in july) is essential for the operations’ setting up. The official reports of the attacks are although precious informations source.
- Report of the 2011 summer follow-up: Quoi de neuf n°26 march 2012 (p.17 to 21)
A growing population but still fragile:
Since the first detection of the species in France in 1992, the natural range of wolves developed itself mainly in the alpine arc according to a spatial process organized northwards. Nonetheless, the colonizing process combined at once characteristics of a "step by step" progress and examples of individuals crossing large dead spaces, unoccupied by the species, without necessarily settling there.
The detected natural range (the number of towns where at least one sign of presence was validated) has increased by about 25% a year in average since the reappearance of the species. Outside the alpine massif, individuals have been detected in the Massif central since 1997 (Lozère in 2006, Gard and Aveyron in 2007 and Cantal in 2008 for the most recent) and in the Pyrenees orientales since 1999. The number of detected zones of permanent presence has increased since 1993 by about 22% a year in average and by 15% during the 2000-2006 period. On the whole, a doubling of the number of zones of permanent presence can be noticed every 5 years. See the ONCFS’ dynamic map here.
- Evolution of the number of wolves’ ZPP in France from 1992 to 20111 (source: ONCFS)
The minimum wintering population size on these zones of permanent presence has evolved roughly by +17% a year in average since 1994 and by +20% a year in average for the 2000-2005 period. The last CMR establishment of a model dates back to 2001 and gives an estimate of 87 individuals (95% confidence interval: 46 - 137; ONCFS, personnal comm. 2007).
- Evolution of the EMR indicator from 1992 to 2011: minimum number of wolves in the ZPP during winter period (source: ONCFS)
From 1992 to 2007, genetic analyses allowed the identification of 207 different wolves on the French territory. Among these individuals, some are now dead and some are gone to Spain or to Italy.
On the whole, the progress of geographic as well as demographic indicators thus show an extra dynamics: each year, the reproduction rate is superior to the death rate. This conclusion is reinforced by the convergence of different indicators while they are independent on the methodological level. The order of magnitude of the annual growth observed in France is at least equal or superior to that of "neighbour" wolf populations.
On the spatial level, the growth mainly takes place in the alpine massif. The individuals detected in the Massif central seem to settle little by little; those detected in the eastern part of the Pyrenean range since 1999 do not show any sign of a particular development. It would be excessively risky to forecast the spatial and/or numerical development of a species such as the wolf, as the demographic reports can be so much variable and the capacities to adapt to various environments are important. However, models combining spatialized demographic data with GIS (Geographic Information System: a software that analyzes geographic data) maps could provide us with a reasonably plausible forecasting and are currently under consideration to be applied to wolves in France.
The genetic analysis made on the signes of presence took on the fieldwork enable to identify individuals. Comparison the localizations of the individuals in differents dates enable to make a map of those animals’ moving. So we can see different situations: some wolves seem to be rather sedentary (localizations restricted in a massif), some wolves migrate in a restricted area (migrations inside the south Alps for example), some wolves migrate in large area (migrations from the south Alps to the north Alps or from the Alps to the Pyrenees for example).
- Illustrate map of the dispersal ability of the wolf in France from genetic analysis of the signs of presence