Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, may mean trouble for rare Alpine wolves

Construction being done in the lead-up to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in and around Turin, Italy, may be driving off the region’s rare wild wolves. Researcher Francesca Marucco has noticed a lack of lupine poop near the Alpine area hosting several Olympic venues, normally a favorite hunting ground for the pack of 15 to 18 wolves she and colleagues are studying. The wolves are already under stress — eight have been killed in traffic accidents in the last three years — and the new development is further fragmenting and destroying habitat that was not terribly abundant to begin with. If the bobsled track and five new ski jumps sink into disuse after the games end, as often happens post-Olympics, so much the better. “Maybe after two years no one will be using these venues any more,” she says, “and the wolves might come back.”