Wolf (Canis lupus) feeding habits during the first eight years of its occurrence in Germany
Due to the fact that the feeding habits of large carnivores are the main contentious point when they start resettling regions they were absent from for several decades, the diet composition of the wolves in Germany was analysed from the beginning of this process. Wolves in Germany primarily feed on wild ungulates, which make up more than 96% of their diet. The dominating prey species is the roe deer (55.3%), followed by red deer (20.8%) and wild boar (17.7%). The second important food category are the leporids (2.9% of Biomass), whereas livestock makes up only 0.6% of all biomass consumed. Wolves clearly prefer hunting on juvenile to adult red deer; roe deer are not selected after their age. We found seasonal differences in the diet composition with a higher amount of wild boar in spring and winter, when a high amount of juveniles and weakened animals, respectively, are available. In the first years of the study the percentage of red deer was much higher, and the percentage of roe deer therefore was lower than the following years. The amount of wild boar in the wolf diet fluctuated most in the first three years. Diet composition remained constant during the last five years. Wolves needed less than two generations for adapting to the new conditions in the cultivated landscape of eastern Germany.