The sad story of Vacho, a wolf with a GPS collar

GPS telemetry is one of the methods used by the experts from BALKANI Wildlife Society for research of large carnivores. The researchers set up GPS collars on wolves and bears to trace their movements. The collars send a signal with the coordinates of the animals regularly. Once the collar battery is empty, the collar drops off automatically and the experts collect it back.

The researchers monitor and analyze the received data. Moreover, they visit the places habitated by the mammals. That’s how we learn more about the life of bears and wolves – what type of territory they live in, how big it is, which are their favourite feeding places, what are their migration patterns, where do they like to rest and so on. The collected data allows us to prepare conservation measures and to work for peaceful co-existance of large carnivores and humans.

We present you the wolf Vacho and his story. Unfortunately, a story with a sad ending…

Vacho is a young male wolf. BALKANI Wildlife Society’s team caught him in the end of October 2017 in Southern Rila Mountain and equipped him with a GPS collar.

Vacho, under an anaesthetic, in the moment of setting up the collar. 

The wolf continued travelling in search of a partner and territory to habitate and to form a family. During winter we followed his tracks in the snow. He was moving on his own.

In the footsteps of Vacho in January 2018. 

Vacho turned out to be a traveller. He roamed through Rila mountain moving through its northeastern side. He almost visited the town of Kostenec. Vacho visitied Western Rhodopes Mountains and Northern Pirin. In the beginning of spring there was less travelling and he returned back to the place where we caught him. Home, sweet home.

All GPS points from the travelling of Vacho during the 6 months of monitoring.
A place for rest.

When our team followed him in the field we proved that he was moving together with another wolf. The size of the tracks proved it to be a female wolf. The team was excited to learn if Vacho has found a partner and if the spring will bring small cubs….

Unfortunately, in the middle of April 2018, Vacho was poisoned in Southern Rila Mountains (link with info in Bulgarian), close to the village of Yakoruda. Or team found his dead body. Did he managed to create a family? We hope we will find out some day with the help of modern scientific methods (DNA research).

The poisoned Vacho….

Vacho travelled within a territory of 1100 sq. m. for the 6 months of monitoring.