Providing the Tools to Improve Brown Bear Management in SlovakiaImplemented: 2011-
Funding: Alertis (grant)
Working with the Ministry of the Environment and other partners together with internationally recognised experts, we will be providing training on best practice in managing bears, covering practical animal handling as well as legislative aspects. The first step is to overcome disagreements between diverse interest groups, and we set about this immediately with a facilitated workshop to improve understanding of the key issues facing brown bears and their management in Slovakia. The ultimate goal is to help all interest groups work together to prepare a national brown bear management plan that everyone can accept. The first workshop was attended by 39 participants, including hunters, foresters, landowners, beekeepers, community leaders, damage inspectors, state nature conservation staff, environmentalists, the police force and university researchers. Despite their contrasting backgrounds and views, the group agreed on a common vision to work towards: "A viable population of bears living in a natural environment with a minimum of conflicts with people". More>>
Chamois survey in the Low TatrasImplemented: 2011-
Funding: TCV (contributions from volunteers)
The Tatra chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica) is a sub-species unique to the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia and neighbouring Poland. Their numbers declined dramatically in the 1980-90s and, in the absence of a definitive explanation, many hunters called for predators to be culled. Concerned that drastic action might be taken without justification, the Slovak Wildlife Society together with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) and national park staff coonducted an annual census of the chamois in the Low Tatras National Park in 2001-2005, during which we also analysed the diets of some potential predators in the area. We found no evidence that predation pressure was threatening the population, with numbers having stabilised at around 100 individuals. Nevertheless, because there are so few animals, it is vitally important to have reliable information on trend (whether the population is growing, declining or stable). Therefore we plan to repeat the 5-year monitoring programme in 2011-2015. The alpine areas of the Low Tatras is a beautiful area to work in and the mix of Slovak and foreign volunteers assisting us have seen a great deal of wildlife, including wolves and bears.
White Dog FundImplemented: 2010-
Funding: WAH (donations)
The White Dog Fund aims provides people in rural areas who shoulder the real cost of co-existing with wolves, brown bears and lynx with prompt and practical assistance to resolve conflicts. The Fund gives everyone, whether you live in a city or in the countryside, the opportunity to share responsibility for conservation of these species by supporting the people most affected by their presence. More >>
White Wilderness: Carpathian Wolf WatchImplemented: 2010-
Funding: SWS (contributions from volunteers)
This ground-breaking project brings together international volunteers and local people, nature conservationists, foresters, landowners and hunters. Under the close supervision of experienced project staff, volunteers track wolves and lynx and collect samples for DNA analysis, which will allow us to determine the minimum number of animals in the project area as well as to detect changes which could require urgent intervention.
Waste Management and Bear Conservation in SlovakiaImplemented: 2005-
Funding: Alertis, EAZA (grants)
Following successful recovery of the bear population in Slovakia, bear-human conflicts have increased, threatening public support for continued protection and measures necessary for long-term survival. Level of awareness among residents and tourists of appropriate behaviour in bear country is low. Dangerous situations arise due to poor food/waste management and deliberate luring of bears as tourist attractions. Negative aspects of bears often make news headlines, promoting a sense of fear and sparking culls for a substantial reduction in bear numbers. This project aims to promote non-lethal preventive measures as effective solutions to bear-human conflicts. The project is focused on improving food/waste management and has two concurrently running components. The educational component aims to improve awareness, knowledge and use of non-lethal preventive measures as alternatives to shooting bears after they have become a nuisance. The practical component will demonstrate the implementation of improved systems of food/waste management in areas that have recently experienced problems with human habituated and food-conditioned bears as well as showing what other practical measures can be taken to discourage bears from visiting hotels, camp sites and cottages. More >>