Today we continue our impromptu series on “animals back in Europe that you wouldn’t expect” with an article by Helmut Luther from the German paper Die Zeit about the wolves that now roam in Italy, specifically in the northern reaches of the Apennine Mountains. Actually, Luther’s article (with the nearly-incomprehensible title “In a song with Isegrim” – it seems Isegrim/Isegrin is the name of a wolf-character out of German medieval fables) is located within Die Zeit’s Travel section, as it is oriented towards potential tourists interested in heading down to Northern Italy to try out the very limited wolf-searching commercial tours on offer there, and includes at its end practical information about the tours themselves, how to get there, and available hotel accommodation in the area.
But yes, wolves are back in Northern Italy, after all but completely dying out decades ago. They were officially made a protected species under Italian law back in the 1970s, but Luther writes that a more-helpful development was the economic development since then that prompted country-dwellers in that part of Italy to head away to the city for more lucrative jobs, and so opened the way for wild boars and deer – the wolves’ favorite snacks! – to spread and multiply, with the canines at the top of the local food-chain soon following. (more…)