CARPATHIAN WOLF WATCH:
Keeping an independent eye on Slovakia's wolves
Please help raise urgently needed funds to safeguard the future of wolves in the Carpathian Mountains!
Wolves have been feared and persecuted by people for centuries, but research has shown that their reputation is mostly undeserved. Wolf 'packs' are typically family groups. Their preferred food is large hooved animals such as deer and wild boar, although they sometimes attack livestock, especially if wild prey is scarce.
Greater understanding of the beneficial effects of wolves in ecosystems has led to substantial progress in conservation. However, in several countries wolf hunting is still legal. In Slovakia, hunters have been allowed to kill up to 150 wolves each year. The impact this has on the population is largely unknown because of insufficient research and monitoring. The CARPATHIAN WOLF WATCH project is working to change this, and you can help!
The project maps wolf packs and identifies individual wolves by ‘genetic fingerprinting'. The results have shown that there are far fewer wolves than official figures suggest: population estimates provided by hunters and previously used by government agencies to set hunting quotas were over-estimated by 700%! On the other hand, some environmental activists substantially under-estimated wolf numbers, harming their credibility as advocates. This highlights the crucial role of objective, independent research, as conducted by the Carpathian Wolf Watch project, to underpin conservation policy.
The Carpathian Wolf Watch project uses a combination of tracking, camera trapping and genetic analysis to determine the numbers of wolves and packs in the area and the effects of hunting. Trained volunteers or 'citizen scientists', local people and students help collect genetic samples, which are then analysed by leading experts at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. The results are presented to the official commission that sets annual quotas for wolf hunting to help ensure that they are kept within sustainable limits.
In winter 2018/19, fewer signs of wolves were found in this area than in the previous year. Further genetic analysis is needed to find out what's going on, but this will only be possible if the necessary funds can be raised. Genetic analysis provides unprecedented insights and powerful arguments, but it is expensive!
In order to keep an independent eye on Slovakia's wolves and ensure that hunting is sustainable, the Carpathian Wolf Watch project needs to raise £10,000 to complete the next round of genetic analysis before the wolf hunting season opens on 1 November.
Please help me make a difference by contributing to this appeal - every donation helps! Thank you in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to me and is making such a difference for wolves in the heart of Europe.
- Filip Pohronsky
- Bernd Damisch
- Tracey Wright