Wolves were caught on camera trap walking along a roadway just outside of Rome — something that hasn’t taken place in over a hundred years.
A pair of them were spotted near the Leonardo da Vinci airport, in a region known as Castel di Guido. Hidden cameras tucked away in a nature reserve captured footage of the unusual and exciting event. The nature reserve is run by the Italian League for the Protection of Birds.
The wolves were determined to be young cubs and were photographed drinking from a water source in addition to frolicking through forest undergrowth. Scientists believe that there are two adult wolves with the cubs and have nicknamed the male adult Romulus, as a nod to the city of the Rome’s symbolic Romulus and Remus.
Italy openly hunted wolves up until the 1970s when their population dwindled to less than 100. Protective protocols have attributed to a rebirth of the population and this discovery holds hope for the reemerging species. Their population is now estimated to be between 1500 and 2000 individuals.
Studies of the wolves’ excrement suggests they have been persisting on a diet of wild boar, which are plentiful in the area. This news comes as a relief to area farmers concerned about the wolves targeting their livestock populations.
“This is the first time in more than 100 years that wolves have been found living near Rome,” Alessia De Lorenzis, a professor who is monitoring the wolf population, stated to The Telegraph. “We’re very pleased that they are back.”
Wolves were once hunted to the brink of extinction in Italy, but are now recovering. https://t.co/UQjOhcctmO
— Smithsonian Magazine (@SmithsonianMag) September 28, 2017