Conservation and surveillance of the conservation status of the wolf (Canis lupus) population in Slovenia – SloWolf
The LIFE+ SloWolf project, which started with planned activities on 1 January 2010 and will continue through the end of 2013, represents the first large-scale project on wolves in Slovenia. The project is carried out collaboratively by partners from the University of Ljubljana, the Slovenian Forest Service, and the Society for the Conservation, Research and Sustainable Development of the Dinaric Alps – Dinaricum. The applicant and leader of the project is the Animal Ecology Group at the Department of Biology of the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana.
The goal of the project is the long-term conservation of the wolf population, its main prey and habitats in Slovenia, and improvement of their coexistence with humans. Wolves are natural predators of free-ranging ungulates living in Slovenian forests. They live in packs and require a large territory to survive. In Slovenia, many important details about how they live, for example the number of animals in the average pack, the number of packs, and the size of their territories, are as yet unknown to us. The attitude of people towards wolves also varies greatly. Individual groups of people, for example hunters and livestock keepers, may come into conflict with wolves because of their predation on wildlife and sheep. At the same time wolves increasingly symbolize wild and unspoiled nature. The continued existence of wolves in Slovenia depends on a number of factors: these will be the subject of study by the project, and the findings and knowledge thereby obtained will form the basis for the successful conservation and management of this charismatic large carnivore species.
The territory covered by the project encompasses a large portion of southern Slovenia and includes the following Natura 2000 regions: Trnovski gozd (Trnovo Forest)-Nanos (SI3000255), Krimsko hribovje (Krim Hills)-Menišija (SI3000256), Kočevsko (Kočevje) (SI3000263), Javorniki – Snežnik (SI3000231), Kras (Karst) (SCI 3000276), Matarsko podolje (SCI 3000233), Slavinski Ravnik (SCI 3000197), Julijske Alpe (Julian Alps) (SCI 300O253), and some smaller SCI and SPA areas: SCI Porezen, SCI Razor, SCI Blegoš, SCI Ratitovec and SCI Otalež-Lazec.
The project area covers some of the best preserved forests in the country and in Europe. The Dinaric region is considered one of Europe’s biodiversity hotspots. Together with the neighbouring region of Gorski Kotar in Croatia, this is the largest non-fragmented forest complex in central Europe.
Much of the region is covered by Illyrian beech forests (Aremonio–Fagion). This is one of the rare regions in Europe where three species of large carnivores still co-exist: the brown bear (Ursus arctos), the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and the wolf (Canis lupus).
Some of the species which qualify for Natura 2000 are the Barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus), Tengmalm’s owl (Aegolius funereus), the hazel grouse (Bonasa bonasia), the grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus), the Jersey tiger moth (Callimorpha quadripunctaria), the Rosalia longicorn (Rosalia alpina), the narrow-mouthed whorl snail (Vertigo angustior), and others.
Many other protected species live in this region, including some endemic ones (for example, Horvath’s rock lizard (Iberolacerta horvathi), the olm or proteus (Proteus anguinus), and Leptodirus hochenwartii, a blind cave beetle. Many of these species are also on the IUCN Red List and are protected under the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.
PROJECT ACTIONS AND PRODUCTS:
With click on the below links you can find description of each project action and its products.
Action A.1: Establishment of methods for the surveillance of wolf population conservation status
Action A.2: Wolf Population Action plan
Action A.3: Wolf prey assessment
Action A.4: Assessment of damages caused by wolves to agriculture
Action A.5: Analysis of existing farming systems
Action A.6: Analysis of attitudes of the general public, hunters and sheep farmers toward wolves and wolf management
Action C.1: Wolf population monitoring
Action C.2: Improvement of management of wild ungulate species
Action C.3: Involvement of hunters and volunteers
Action C.4: Improvement of wolf damage recognition and evaluation of large carnivore damages to agriculture
Action C.5: Training of agriculture advisory service
Action C.6: Best practice demonstration of wolf damage prevention measures
Action D.1: Public awareness and education campaign about wolves on national and local levels
Action D.2: Promotion of coexistence of wolves with agriculture
Action D.3: Education campaign on wolves for hunters in wolf areas
Action D.4: Project web page
Action D.5: Layman report
Action D.6: Networking through organization of a thematic conference
Action E.1: Coordination of the project
Action E.2: Overall evaluation and monitoring of the project conservation achievements
Action E.3: Revision of Wolf Population Action Plan
Action E.4: AfterLIFE plan
Action E.5: Independent financial revision
After LIFE conservation plan is a way of ensuring that the results of the project will be used in wolf conservation also after the end of the project and that the activities started during the project will become a regular practice in the national wolf management.
Project steering group will, based on the results of the project, and in cooperation with the authorities prepare the After LIFE Wolf Population Conservation Plan.
Actions which will be carried out or continued after the end of the project:
– Elaboration of wolf population action plan (action A.2 and action E.3).
– Implementation of surveillance of wolf population conservation status (action C.1).
-Training of inspectors for recognition and evaluation of large carnivore damages to agriculture (action C.4).
– Involvement of volunteers in the wolf population monitoring activities. Hunters will continue to participate in wolf monitoring activities after the end of the project (akcija C.3).
– Project web page