Špinkytė-Bačkaitienė, R. 2005. Habitat Use by the Wolf (Canis lupus L.) in North Lithuania. Baltic Forestry, 11 (2): 109-115

Habitat use by wolves was researched with the aim to understand their visiting frequency of different landscape sites, priorities for resting place selection and the influence of anthropogenic factors on wolves’ activity. Snow tracking of wolves was conducted through the winters of 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 with weather conditions permitting. With the use of GPS recording wolves were tracked 83.7 kilometres. Results indicate habitat use by wolves is spread throughout the landscape; forest (43%), agricultural land (24.8%), road (12.3%), forest edge (10.6%) and frozen waterways (5.2%). Wolves are not restricted to any landscape type. However, they prefer forest stands over 20 years of age and rarely pass through clearcut areas. Frequently wolves visited mixed soft deciduous stands with spruce. Wolves gave preference to young stands as resting sites. The highest number of recorded resting sites was between 2580 - 3400 m from a village and the mean distance from the forest edge was 200 m. Wolf tracks were found 50 - 300 m from homesteads.

Key words: wolf, habitat use, tracking, forest stand, resting place, territory marking, behaviour.