Wolf - A
Date of issue: 23.09.2022
Author: Zlatko Drčar
Motive: Wolf - A
Printed by: Agencija za komercijalnu djelatnost d.o.o., Zagreb, Croatia
Printing Process and Layout: 4-colour offset in sheets of 25 stamps
Paper: Tullis Russell Chancellor Litho PVA RMS GUM, 102 g/m2
Size: 42.60 x 29.82 mm
Perforation: Comb 14 : 14
Fauna – Wolf
Wolf (Canis lupus)
The wolf is the largest member of the family Canidae. It is the predator with the greatest impact on herbivore populations in the northern hemisphere. Its predatory way of life and conflicts with human populations as a result of its attacks on livestock meant that by the end of the nineteenth century its numbers had dramatically reduced across most of Europe and North America. In some areas it was eradicated entirely. Slovenia’s wolves are part of the Dinaric-Balkan population, covering the area from the Eastern Alps in north-eastern Italy to the mountains of Greece and Bulgaria.
Wolves live in family communities known as packs, headed by a mated pair. As a rule, the other members of the pack are their offspring, who help with hunting and rearing cubs. Only the lead pair mate. After around 64 days of gestation in a den the she-wolf gives birth to a litter of cubs (also known as pups), usually in May. A litter usually consists of four to seven cubs, which are blind at birth and covered with short, dark fur. The cubs begin to leave the den after eight weeks and reach sexual maturity at 22 months. Wolves in Slovenia and the rest of central Europe usually weigh between 35 and 45 kg. They are highly territorial animals and need a large territory to support themselves. The territories often measure several hundred square kilometres. They can survive in practically all habitats where there is sufficient food, i.e. prey. In Slovenia this mostly means Dinaric, sub-Alpine and Alpine forests. Their chief prey consists of ungulates including red deer, roe deer and wild boar. Hunting as a pack and working together, they can take on prey that is up to ten times heavier than they are. They exhaust their prey through a long pursuit. The victims of this form of hunting are mainly young and inexperienced animals or old and sick animals in poor physical condition. Wolves can travel great distances when seeking food and marking their territory, covering tens of kilometres in a single night. They have practically no natural enemies. They are extremely shy and distrustful of humans and are usually skilled at avoiding them. In areas where they come into contact with humans or human activities, they are more nocturnal.
Thanks to increasingly successful legal protections, the end of uncontrolled persecution and the improving nutritional situation for wolves with the growth in large herbivore populations, wolf numbers in Slovenia and elsewhere in Europe have been increasing in recent years. They are beginning to repopulate numerous large areas of well-preserved natural environment that were home to wolves in the past. As a result of the conflicts triggered by their predatory nature, coexistence with wolves is becoming a major challenge for their conservation in the future.
Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana