Observatorio Cinegético: Hunters Leading the Main Monitoring Network for Game Species

April 29, 2024
April 29, 2024 FACE

Hunters are promoting hunting as a science-based sustainable activity, where nature benefits. Amidst global biodiversity loss, a systematic and credible method to track game species trends is crucial for sustainable resource management.

Fundación Artemisan, a Spanish foundation, collaborated with the Real Federación Española de Caza, regional hunting federations, and Bieneo Consulting to launch the Observatorio Cinegético in 2019.

The project aims to establish a nationwide survey system for game species, where hunters and game managers generate reliable data on population trends to inform management decisions.

Operating through a mobile app, CensData, and a virtual platform, the project collects and processes field data to support wildlife management decisions. It focuses on monitoring population trends through the Kilometric Abundance Index (KAI), derived from censuses conducted by hunters. These must be repeated annually under consistent conditions to ensure data comparability and to draw accurate population trends.

Annually, the project surveys Spanish game species across five seasons, focusing on different groups like resident birds, nocturnal mammals, and big game species, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of wildlife dynamics.

Since its inception, the project has grown significantly. From 187 censors in 2019 to 694 participants in 2022, conducting 4,804 censuses across 1,086 UTM squares, it is now Spain’s largest hunting species monitoring network.

Requirements that must be met when carrying out the censuses to have scientific validity at the national scale:

  1. The goal is not to count everything in your hunting ground but only a representative sample of it.
  2. You should not choose the census route based on the areas where there is more hunting.
  3. You should choose a route that passes through the different habitats in your hunting ground and make sure they are paths that can be traveled throughout the year.
  4. The length of the routes will be 8 to 10 kilometers if you do the route by vehicle, and 4 to 6 kilometers if you do the route on foot.
  5. The route must be within a UTM 10x10km grid. To ensure this, Artemisan will send you a map with the grids that include your municipality.
  6. Once you have chosen a route, you will need to repeat it the same way every year, with the same stops and at the same times, and if possible, the same people should also do it.
  7. If possible, use binoculars.
  8. Do the route on a day without rain, strong wind, or fog.

Policy Relevance

This citizen science project carried out by hunters and hunters’ organizations is one more example of how hunting stakeholders are helping the EU’s wildlife. Hunters know how important it is to monitor the situation of an animal species for sustainable management of that species. Spanish hunters through the Observatorio Cinegético make a crucial work providing up-to-date science-based information to Policy Makers to take good decisions favoring wildlife species’ future. The Observatorio Cinegético project goes in the same direction of IUCN red-list, the 17th article of the EU’s Habitat Directive, and the 12th article of the EU’s Birds Directive creating a network to survey the trend of EU’s animal species and it is contributing to achieve the goals for the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.

Source and more information: www.fundacionartemisan.comPDF

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