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Title of the project

Engaging hunters and other stakeholders in a pilot study of wolves in Slovakia using non-invasive genetic sampling

Description

To obtain high quality data on the local wolf population in the reference study area with transparent and robust interpretation that is not contested by different stakeholders. The demonstration of a state-of-the-art approach to improving knowledge of large carnivore population status should help to foster a critical appraisal of traditional methods and will hopefully open the way for improved methods and collaborative data generation in the future

Engaging key stakeholders and authorities in project activities;
Conducting fieldwork with the involvement of local hunters, foresters and national park staff as well as conservation volunteers;
Genotyping wolves in the reference area by non-invasive DNA sampling;
Running a workshop with stakeholder participation to present and interpret the results of genetic analysis and their implications for monitoring.

Hunters were involved in the fieldwork and data collection

Results

Established that there were a minimum of 20 different wolves in the study area at the time of sampling. These animals were members of at least five and possibly up to nine separate family groups (packs). Genetic diversity was found to be relatively high, comparable to that reported in the large Dinaric wolf population. There was no evidence of hybridization between wolves and dogs. Based on the genetic data and assuming an average pack size of five individuals, the number of wolves in the study area was estimated at 20–45 individuals.

Location

Country Slovakia
Level Regional
Region Liptov region, Northern Slovakia

Starting date

2013

Habitat Types

Forest/Woodland, Scrub/Grassland 

Protection status of the areas

National protected area, No protection status

Species

Species Caracteristics Huntable species, Protected species, Threatened species
Species Type Large carnivores
Name(s) of main species Canis lupus - grey wolf

Conservation action(s)

Research and data collection (e.g. monitoring, bag data), Communication and education (for different target audiences e.g. hunters, the wider public)

Partners

Leading partners Slovak Wildlife Society (http://www.slovakwildlife.org/)the Slovak Hunting Association (http://www.polovnictvo.sk/index.php)Forests of the Slovak Republic state enterprise(http://www.lesy.sk/showdoc.do?docid=956)organizations of the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic (http://www.sopsr.sk/web/)University of Ljubljana Animal Ecology Research Group (https://www.uni-lj.si/university/)

Estimation of Human Resources needed

Around 60 people participated, including trained conservation volunteers, hunters, foresters, national park staff, environmentalists, researchers and students.

Publication(s)

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/carnivores/pdf/pa_slovakia_finalreport.pdf

Weblinks

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/carnivores/pdf/pa_slovakia_finalreport.pdf