Česká verze

Forests in the Olomouc region are inhabited by the Eurasian lynx and grey wolves

27.4.2016, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (local organization in Olomouc), Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic (AOPK CR), and Lesy ČR (state-owned forestry enterprise)

Since autumn 2015, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (local organization Olomouc), in co-operation with the volunteer participants of “Wolf Patrols” and regional partners, are searching in the wider area of the Jeseníky Mountains for evidence of the presence of large carnivores and wildcats. Several months of fieldwork provided the credible evidence of lynx and wolf presence in the Olomouc region.

The project is running with the participation of Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic (Olomouc regional office), Lesy ČR (state-owned forestry enterprise), Ostrava University and the local chapter of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation Šumperk. An important method of data collection used as part of the project is monitoring with the help of camera traps. Conservationists have installed more than 60 cameras in the field.

Valuable information on the movements of large carnivores and other specially protected species were also obtained by the volunteers involved in “Wolf Patrols”weekend courses focused on the protection of large carnivores. Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (local organization Olomouc) organized in total 21 such events in Jeseníky and surrounding areas with 108 volunteers taking part.

Footprint of a wolf in the Rychlebské Mountains in February 2016

The most significant findings include the proof of the grey wolf occurrence in the Rychlebské Mountains and on the northern border of the Jeseníky Protected Landscape Area. At the beginning of January 2016, conservationists obtained video recording from a privately owned camera trap which shows a wolf. In the second half of February, “Wolf Patrols” volunteers found tracks in two other places in the Rychlebské Mountains which were most likely made by a wolf. These are the first evidence of wolf presence in the Jeseníky area after more than a decade.

At the opposite end of the Olomouc region, near Šternberk, conservationists managed to find credible evidence of Eurasian lynx, the largest European cat. “On my way to one of the batswintering sites, which we regularly check, I have discovered, to my big surprise, lynx tracks on the snow-covered forest road. They were relatively fresh and thus unmistakable,” recounts Jiří Šafář of Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic. “Besides, extensive forests of Nízký Jeseník region and the connecting military space Libavá represent ideal environment with plenty of prey for the lynx,” he adds.

Lynx tracks in the Šternberk region

Friends of the Earth Czech Republic also evaluated the reports of accidental sightings and findings of occurrence signs received from foresters, hunters, and the general public. "Cooperation with foresters is very important for the large carnivores monitoring because they are in the field daily and have many opportunities to record animal tracks. I am happy to say that our staff across the region are actively involved in the monitoring which aims to prove the presence of these endangered animals. For example, they were able to make photographic documentation of large carnivores' tracks, as well as roe deer kills which were subsequently analysed by experts. There is a strong likelihood that these kills show signs of lynx predation," informed Tomáš Pospíšil, Director of the Regional Directorate of Lesy ČR in Šumperk.

"When checking camera traps, we have recorded numerous signs of other specially protected species, for example, tracks of European otter or hazel grouse, rare but inconspicuous woodland bird. We enter any such data into our database and they are valuable particularly when making decisions on conservation in the area," explains Petr Šaj of Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic (Olomouc regional office).

"During five months of intensive field survey, 220 field trips with a total length of 3,500km were made; unfortunately, we failed to prove the presence of lynx or wolf in the Jeseníky Protected Landscape Area itself. The occurrence of large carnivores in this area is not ruled out but it is very unlikely that any stable population lives here. Their absence is probably due to the illegal hunting, isolation of the area from other populations of large carnivores and increasing fragmentation of the landscape," says Jiří Beneš of Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (local organization Olomouc), project coordinator of the Jeseníky large carnivores monitoring programme. He adds that it is still possible to send photos of any unusual tracks or prints (with a measure for scale) or another occurrence sign to an email address stopy@selmy.cz.

Friends of the Earth Czech Republic is organizing the monitoring of large carnivores in the wider area of Jeseníky Mountains within the projects "Monitoring of important European carnivore species in selected localities within the Natura 2000 network" and "Increasing public awareness for an active protection of biodiversity in the Czech Republic" supported by a grant from Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway.


Jiří Beneš, Hnutí DUHA Olomouc, jiri.benes@hnutiduha.cz

Petr Šaj, Regional Office of Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic in Olomouc, Jeseníky PLA Administration, e-mail petr.saj@nature.cz


Translation from CZ press release: Martina Dušková


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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