An interesting recent study gives an idea of the wolf numbers in the Sierra de Culebra as it states they testes the poo from 5 breeding groups: https://www.dicyt.com/noticias/un-equipo-de-investigacion-descubre-que-informacion-comparten-los-lobos-a-traves-de-sus-heces
A research team discovers what information wolves share through their feces
In a study carried out in the Sierra de la Culebra (Zamora), 56 volatile chemical compounds were found in the feces that provide information on the social status of the specimen, the sex or if the females are in heat.
MNCN-CSIC/DICYT An investigation by the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) and the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) verifies that the chemical compounds found in the feces of the Iberian wolf, Canis lupus signatus , serve as signals that They use to communicate with other wolves. It was already known that these animals use their feces as marks and deposit them in strategic places to mark their territory. Now, thanks to this work, it is also known which chemical compounds in the feces serve to inform other specimens of their sex, social status, or sexual receptivity.
To carry out this study, they have analyzed 94 fresh fecal samples from adult wolves in 5 wild breeding groups in the Sierra de la Culebra, Zamora, and identified a total of 56 lipid compounds. “We have detected a wide variety of compounds, many of which are very volatile and have a very strong odor, which is why they can serve as scent marks,” explains Isabel Barja, a UAM researcher. “These compounds and their relative amount vary between the feces of females in heat compared to non-breeding females or males. In addition, we have identified differences between the feces depending on the season of the year in which they were deposited, which indicates that chemical signals can inform about the sex and reproductive status of individuals”, continues Barja.
Wolves are very territorial animals that live in hierarchical packs in which social status is of great importance, which is why communication is especially relevant. In the feces they also found compounds related to the physiological state and the quality of the individuals. “Given that the feces with the highest load of these compounds were located in strategic places such as crossroads and/or particularly conspicuous and elevated substrates, we consider that, in the case of wolves, in addition to other information, these marks could also warn of the social status of the specimen. Relevant information both inside and outside the group”, points out MNCN researcher José Martín.
“Many species of mammals use chemical signals to communicate and interact with individuals of their own species as well as with other species.” Researcher Pilar López, also from the MNCN, points out, “Knowing the meaning of the chemical signals that wolves use to communicate and interact with other individuals is key to being able to develop effective strategies to protect the wolf populations of the Iberian Peninsula,” she concludes. Lopez