Česká verze

Construction in the ecological corridor in Slovakia threatens protected carnivore populations in the Beskydy Mountains

24.8.2022, Selmy.cz

A large private building covering a floor space of more than 1,600 m2 is to be built in the ecological corridor of large mammals in the Visolaje municipal area. The location is close to the Natura 2000 sites declared, among other objectives, for the protection of large carnivores such as wolves, lynx, and bears. Preserving the remaining wildlife corridors between the mountain ranges is essential for the survival of these species on the Czech-Slovak border. Construction in the large mammal ecological corridor could threaten the Beskydy population of large carnivores. As the Trenčín district office has ruled out any impact on the Natura 2000 area, the Hnutí DUHA Šelmy (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic – Large Carnivore Conservation Programme) is asking for a cross-border assessment of the project and its impact on critically endangered animals.

The last wildlife passages in western Slovakia are under threat following a particularly irresponsible decision made this year by the Trenčín district office. It concerned a development proposal in the Visolaje municipal area located approximately 20 kilometres from the Czech border. According to the project documentation, the development plan includes a parking house for 26 cars, an elevator, and a 400-metre-long access road. The floor area of an entire building will exceed 1,600 m2. The Trenčín office issued an opinion stating that the proposed construction will not affect the Natura 2000 protected areas, thus clearing the way for its implementation. This is despite the fact that the construction is planned directly in an important wildlife corridor, which was brought to the attention of district officials by the Strážovské vrchy Protected Landscape Area Administration and the Púchov district authority.

The nearby Natura 2000 sites were declared, among other objectives, for the protection of endangered large carnivores. “We are calling for a transboundary impact assessment of the project. Contrary to the opinion of the Trenčín district authority, we fear that its implementation could have a significant impact on the Natura 2000 sites not only in Slovakia but also in the Czech Republic. This includes threats to the populations of critically endangered lynx, wolves, and bears,” said Michal Bojda, a field worker of the Hnutí DUHA Šelmy, about the development plans in the wildlife corridor.

Slovak conservationists also dispute the decision of the Trenčín district office. “WWF Slovakia disagrees with the decision of the district authority. Strážovské vrchy (Strážov Hills) are important for the migration of large carnivores in this part of the Carpathian Mountains and a lot of resources have been invested in identifying the ecological corridors over the last few years. These corridors allow animals to move between the Javorníky and Strážovský vrchy and further south towards the Štiavnické vrchy or west to the Beskydy Mountains. If we confine the animals to protected areas and restrict their migration, we prevent gene exchange and threaten the long-term survival of the population,” said Romana Uhrinová, SaveGREEN project manager at WWF Slovakia.

Ecological corridors are the last places in a human-dominated landscape where animals, especially large mammals, can move over long distances. They are frequently used by young bears, wolves, and lynx in search of new territories. Maintaining these corridors is therefore essential for the survival of large carnivore populations. Along the river Váh, functional ecological corridors were mapped already in 2013 [1]. The mapping of corridors and their critical points continued within the international projects ConnectGREEN and TRANSGREEN. It was during these projects that the importance of the Visolaje wildlife corridor was highlighted and for its preservation, it was recommended to refrain from any building development in the area [2]. Currently, several SaveGREEN project partners are working to preserve ecological corridors in the Carpathians, including the Hnutí DUHA Šelmy (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic – Large Carnivore Conservation Programme) and WWF Slovakia [3]. Populations of large carnivores in the Beskydy Protected Landscape Area also depend on the existence of functional wildlife corridors on both the Czech and Slovak sides of the border. It is the only part of the Czech Republic where all three species live together, thanks to the regular arrival of new individuals from Slovakia.


[1] Kutal M. & Suchomel J. (eds.): Analýza výskytu velkých šelem a průchodnosti krajiny v Západních Karpatech (Analysis of large carnivores distribution and landscape permeability in the Western Carpathians). Mendel University in Brno, Brno 2014. 48 pp. Available for downloading here.

[2] The catalogue of recommendations for ensuring landscape permeability for animals in the Kysuce – Malá Fatra – Strážovské vrchy project area is available here.

[3] The SaveGREEN project, co-funded by the European Union funds (ERDF) through the Interreg Danube Transnational Cooperation Programme (DTP), focuses on safeguarding the functionality of important ecological corridors in the Carpathians and the Danube region. The project aims to identify, summarize, and promote the best solution for the protection of ecological corridors. The Hnutí DUHA Šelmy, together with the Transport Research Centre, is the Czech partner of the project in the Beskydy-Kysuce pilot area.


Michal Bojda
SaveGREEN Project Field Worker in Beskydy, Hnutí DUHA Šelmy
+420 734 233 993

Radek Kříček
SaveGREEN Project Manager, Hnutí DUHA Šelmy
+420 723 435 156

Andrea Settey Hajdúchová
WWF Slovakia
+421 908 700 857

Friends of the Earth are able to carry out projects on protection and monitoring of large carnivores thanks to generous support of individual donors – Friends of Large Carnivores. Please join us here.

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