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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 5, 2021

First wolves in Luxembourg since 1893, originating from the Alpine and Central European populations

  • Laurent Schley ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Marianne Jacobs , Sebastian Collet , Alexander Kristiansen and Jan Herr
From the journal Mammalia


Considering the spread of the grey wolf (Canis lupus) in Europe over the past 30 years, Luxembourg took some measures to prepare for the return of this apex predator, including the establishment of a management plan that notably addresses the issue of wolf depredation on livestock. Here we present the results of genetic analyses of putative wolf saliva, hair and scat samples collected from or near prey carcasses between 2015 and 2020. In two cases, the wolf was confirmed via DNA analysis: in July 2017 near Garnich and in April 2020 near Niederanven, both assigned to category C1 (hard evidence). A third case was classified as C2 (confirmed observation) based on prey carcass characteristics, while genetic analysis yielded no result. These are the first confirmed records of wolves in Luxemburg since 1893. Moreover, the two C1-cases originated from the Alpine (Garnich) and Central European (Niederanven) populations. Given similar developments in the neighboring countries and regions, we conclude that the area including the Benelux countries as well as Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Northern France may well become a melting pot for wolves of the two aforementioned populations in the coming years and decades.

Corresponding author: Laurent Schley, Administration de la nature et des forêts, 81 avenue de la Gare, L-9233, Diekirch, Luxembourg; and Musée national d’histoire naturelle, 25 rue Münster, L-2160, Luxembourg, Luxembourg, E-mail:


We thank Carole Back, Gilles Biver, Thierry Kozlik, Pit Lacour, Vinciane Schockert and Stef van Rijn for their assistance with the fieldwork, Corinne Leytem for her technical support, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the manuscript.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: The Luxembourgish Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development provided the funds for the study.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Received: 2020-08-13
Accepted: 2020-11-13
Published Online: 2021-01-05
Published in Print: 2021-05-26

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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