It is with great pleasure that we can announce the publication of our 2016 Slovakia expedition report.
The report contains the good news of stable populations of wolf, bear and lynx in Slovakia’s Veľká Fatra National Park, as evidenced by annual expeditions and data collection from 2012 to 2016.
2016 saw the fifth year of the Slovakia lynx, wolf & bear expedition to the Vel’ka Fatra National Park. The study site in the Lubochnianska valley continues to support large carnivores, which have disappeared from most of their former ranges across Europe due to hunting and habitat destruction. The expedition runs when the valley slopes and trails are usually covered in snow providing a canvas on which the tracks and trails of the large carnivores are painted. Participants in 2016 came from Germany, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, the UK and USA. They walked a total of 460 km along 33 transects, covering 26 (2 x 2 km) grid cells. Expedition scientist Tomas Hulik described this as “a really great effort, which has resulted in the recording of 32 wolf signs, five lynx signs and four bear signs, as well as the collection of six wolf scat and urine samples, which can be used for DNA analysis.” The findings are written up in this report and presented to the government’s national park and national forestry departments to help inform estimates of large carnivore numbers in Vel’ka Fatra National Park and thereby aid their conservation.
Meanwhile, the 2017 expedition starting on 5 February, will continue to monitor the Vel’ka Fatra's large carnivore populations, expand camera trapping to include both more traps and scent stations, and push for DNA analysis of all samples collected by the expeditions to identify individuals from samples, estimate species densities, survival rates and population trends. We still have a few places left on the expedition, so join us now, if you can!