When I study Poland on a map, I imagine a large wolf reservoir. A stream of wolves from the Ukraine keeps the reservoir refreshed. A trickle of dispersers to Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands keeps the reservoir from overflowing.
About 1,000 wolves call Poland home; most inhabit the Carpathian Mountains in the south. Some choose the northeastern and eastern forests. Dispersers have crossed the country into western forests since 2005.
Dr. Robert Myslajek, a researcher from the University of Warsaw, explained on the website Polska why the country attracts wolves:
"Compared with the rest of Europe, Poland is really rich in forests - they cover up to 45 percent of certain western provinces, Additionally, there is a large number of hoofed mammals living in our forests on which the wolves feed. This is conducive to the growth of predators' population."
Countrywide protection since 1998 also helps.
Some of these protected wolves now live near human settlements, creating a familiar problem: attacks on domestic goats and sheep. The government offers a familiar solution: reimbursement for producers who lose livestock to wolves. The country also has organizations that encourage nonlethal deterrence by educating farmers, training sheep dogs, building electric fences, and installing fladry. But - just as in the US - that's not enough for some producers who want to kill offending wolves and remove national protection. Hunters agree. Poachers take some wolves.