After decades of incidental sightings, the wolf population in western Poland and eastern Germany is increasing since 2000. From there this Central European population is recolonizing former habitat, mainly in north-western direction. Evidence for wolves has been obtained in Denmark and signs of wolf presence have also been obtained in Belgium and north-eastern France. The reappearance of a wolf in the Netherlands seems to be a matter of time. By now, monitoring programmes are in place in various countries, among which Germany, Poland and Denmark. Genetic analysis based on non-invasive samples is a key element of these programmes, as it offers the ability to recognize and follow individual wolves without visual observations. In other countries, such as the Netherlands, ensuring abilities for rapid identification of individual animals and inference of their most likely origin is part of the current preparations for the arrival of wolves. Since wolves are capable of dispersing over long distances and do not deal with national boundaries, cooperation on wolf research is of crucial importance when aiming to understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of the Central European wolf population and its current spread. For that reason, researchers from six different institutes in four different countries came together for a workshop at Senckenberg Research Institute (Gelnhausen, Germany) to discuss the options for cooperation. This resulted in the foundation of the CEWOLF consortium: a working group for collaboration in conservation genetic study of the Central European wolf population.
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