The German Alps

The German alps, like many parts of Europe, exterminated all their predators by the middle of the twentieth century. Due to its position, and an increasing acceptance of the science of how the environment there has been a less agressive reaction to various predators returning.

It should be noted that despite it being more than 30 years since east and west Germany merged to once again form one country, in terms of wildlife they still feel like very different places. West Germany exterminated most of its big predators, where as western Germany did not. The majority of the wolves do still live in areas that were under eastern German control.

It is true that bears have not yet made Germany their home. A bear entered Germany back in 2006, and while the government and local population were initially pleased, after he killed a few livestock a few attempts were made to catch him so he could be moved elsewhere. When this failed the decision was made to kill him – it should be noted, that a significant part of the population was against this decision. The hunt took over a month, with a significant outlay spent on expert hunters bought in from Finland. In the end though this failed and he was shot by a local hunter (much against the locals wishes).

In October of 2019, another bear wandered over the border again. Bavaria authorities behaved in a far better way on this occasion, and while careful note was made of where he was and what he was doing, he was left largely alone. It is unsure what happened to him, but it is clear that while without human intervention, bears are likely to eventually return to the wild in Germany, they have not yet.

A view of the German Alps

Wolves are different. There is some debate over how many wolves live in Germany at this point. It is thought that they first returned in 1998, and have been doing relatively well since. There is thought to be a little over 100 wolf packs, but a significant dispute as to an accurate number of individual animals. The government claims numbers of 400 while hunting groups claim the real figure is as high as 1300 (hunting organisations almost always over estimate, as this gives them a higher quota to keep the population in check). It is also common for hunting organisations to be paid by farming organisations, in order to keep livestock predation under control, thus giving a further incentive to over estimate, allowing them to kill more animals.

It is probably more likely that the true number lies somewhere between the estimates, perhaps around 600 individual members. They have a permanent presence in Brandenburg, Saxony and lower Saxony.

Lynx are still found widely throughout Germany, though as an incredibly shy species a sighting should be considered very lucky.

European wild cats also still roam widely throughout germany.
See Animals Wild