Česká verze

Monitoring of large carnivores in the Beskydy Mountains: population numbers remain low

9.5.2017, Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic and Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA)

The 33rd annual large carnivores' census took place at the end of February in the Beskydy Mountains. It confirmed the worrying trend of the previous years - the numbers of wolves, lynx, and bears remain alarmingly low. About 75 professional and volunteer conservationists participated in the monitoring of occurrence signs which was organized by the Beskydy PLA Administration, the regional office of Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic. The information obtained during the snow tracking was compared with the camera trap records provided by Friends of the Earth CZ - unlike the footprints, camera trap images allow the identification of individual animals, thus the combination of data leads to a more accurate estimate of population numbers.

Preliminary analysis of the field data indicates that the Moravian-Silesian Beskydy and Javorníky Mountains (including the Slovak side of both ranges) are currently home to 13 adult lynx and at least 7 cubs. Just like last year, there was no sign of the lynx in the Vsetín Hills. On the other hand, several wolves were recorded in the Beskydy PLA and its wider area. All through the winter, the evidence of bear presence was reported in the Slovak part of the Javorníky Mountains suggesting that the animal hibernated here.

Bear checking a tree for scent marks

Both fresh and older occurrence signs (footprints, faeces, urine, hair and remains of prey) confirming the continued presence of our largest cat, the lynx, at its traditional locations in the western section of the Beskydy PLA (Veřovické Hills, Radhošť, Kněhyně, Čertův Mlýn, Smrk, Trojačka, Lysá hora, Travný) and in the Javorníky Mountains (Makyta). In the eastern part of the Protected Landscape Area, the presence of lynx was not detected, despite the suitable conditions. The wolf tracks were found in the mountain ranges straddling the Czech-Slovak national border, in the Vsetín Hills and around the central peaks Kněhyně and Smrk.

A lynx at the marking site

"The main threat to our carnivores remains poaching and transport infrastructure which presents a problem for young inexperienced animals in particular. A dense network of forest roads allowing for a frequent movement of people and vehicles is a disadvantage in terms of large carnivore conservation. Their future in the Beskydy Mountains depends on the willingness of gun owners and game managers to respect the legally protected status of this species, and on our success in maintaining the landscape permeability between the Beskydy and the Slovak and Polish section of the Carpathians," explains Dana Bartošová of the Beskydy PLA Administration.

"In the recent years, the lynx here have been regularly reproducing and their numbers stay relatively stable but given the small size of the populations, it is an extremely fragile balance. We have almost no information about the fate of young lynx after they have separated from their mothers; at the same time, large areas of the Beskydy Mountains and Vsetín Hills remain unoccupied. Wolves and bears are still just rare visitors to the Protected Landscape Area. We continue to monitor these species (although with less intensity than in winter) and we always welcome any information from the public, which can be sent to our e-mail address stopy@selmy.cz," says Miroslav Kutal, the main coordinator of the large carnivore monitoring programme run by Friends of the Earth CZ (Hnutí DUHA Olomouc).

Other rare and protected animal species were also recorded during this year's large carnivore monitoring including European otter, Eurasian beaver, hazel grouse, several rare woodpecker species (white-backed, three-toed, grey-headed, and black), common raven, common kingfisher, Ural owl, boreal owl and Eurasian pygmy owl. Particularly notable were two observations of the golden eagle in the Slovak borderland.

The results of monitoring will be entered into the central database of Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic and the information will be used to improve the nature conservation policy and decision-making. The Administration of Beskydy PLA would like to thank all the participants - the employees of Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic and Kysuce PLA Administration, the volunteer guards of the Beskydy PLA, and the members and volunteers of Friends of the Earth CZ - for their invaluable help.



Dana Bartošová, the regional office of Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic - Beskydy PLA Administration, tel.: (+420) 607 837 854, e-mail: dana.bartosova@nature.cz,

Miroslav Kutal, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (local organization Hnutí DUHA Olomouc), tel.: (+420) 728 832 889, e-mail: miroslav.kutal@hnutiduha.cz

Karolína Šůlová, Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, tel.: (+420) 724 102 406



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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created by Michal Kandr