Wolf workshop in Brandenburg

2017-10-18 | Wolf workshop in Brandenburg

Ministry of Rural Development, Environment and Agriculture of the German federal state Brandenburg organized Polish-German workshop for the transboundary wolf management. Workshop, held in Schorfheide near Berlin, was attended by representatives of environmental agencies from Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpomen, including Brandenburg Deputy Minister of Environment Dr. Carolin Schilde. Organizers invited wolf experts from Poland (Dr. Sabina Nowak and Dr. Robert Mysłajek), and reprezentatives of regional directorates for environmental protection in Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poznań and Szczecin, as well as specialists from Polish national and landscapes park and state forest service.

Wolf lecture for foresters

2017-10-14 | Wolf lecture for foresters

Sabina Nowak and Michał Figura from our society led a lecture about wolf ecology and conservation for group of foresters from the Stąporków Forest Division, who visited our neighbourhood. Stąporków Forest Division is situated in SW Poland, and was recently recolonized by wolves thanks to the strict ptotection of this carnivore.

10th Baltic Theriological Conference

2017-10-01 | 10th Baltic Theriological Conference

10th Baltic Theriological Conference, held at the University of Tartu, Estonia, 27-30 August 2017, was attended by over 100 mammalogists. We presented talk about ecology of wolves recolonizing western Poland (Dr. Sabina Nowak) wolf genetics (Dr. Robert Mysłajek). Our team presented also status of the wolf and the lynx in Poland during a workshop focused on large carnivore science and management.

Insufficient wolf protection in Natura 2000 sites

2017-09-06 | Insufficient wolf protection in Natura 2000 sites

If protected areas are to remain relevant in our dynamic world they must be adapted to changes in species ranges. In the EU one of the most notable such changes is the recent recovery of large carnivores, which are protected by Natura 2000 at the national and population levels. However, the Natura 2000 network was designed prior to their recent recovery, which raises the question whether the network is sufficient to protect the contemporary ranges of large carnivores. To investigate this question experts from Institute of Genetics and Biotechnology Faculty of Biology University of Warsaw (Tom Diserens, Maciej Szewczyk and Dr. Robert Mysłajek), Mammal Research Institute Polish ACademy of Sciences (Dr. Tomasz Borowik) and the Association for Nature "Wolf" (Dr. Sabina Nowak and Dr. Natalia Niedźwiecka) evaluated Natura 2000 coverage of the three wolf populations in Poland. Results of their analysis just appeared in PLoS ONE. Wolf tracking data showed that wolves have recolonised almost all suitable habitat in Poland (as determined by a recent habitat suitability model), so we calculated the overlap between the Natura 2000 network and all wolf habitat in Poland. On the basis of published Natura 2000 criteria, we used 20% as the minimum required coverage. At the national level, wolves are sufficiently protected (22% coverage), but at the population level, the Baltic and Carpathian populations are far better protected (28 and 47%, respectively) than the endangered Central European Lowland population (12%). As Natura 2000 insufficiently protects the most endangered wolf population in Poland, we recommend expansion of Natura 2000 to protect at least an additional 8% of wolf habitat in western Poland, and discuss which specific forests are most in need of additional coverage. Implementation of these actions will have positive conservation implications and help Poland to fulfil its Habitats Directive obligations. As it is likely that similar gaps in Natura 2000 are arising in other EU member states experiencing large carnivore recoveries, particularly in Central Europe, we make the case for a flexible approach to Natura 2000 and suggest that such coverage evaluations may be beneficial elsewhere.

Wolves recolonizng western Poland follow habitat suitability model

2017-08-16 | Wolves recolonizng western Poland follow habitat suitability model

Although habitat suitability models (HSM) have been widely proposed as conservation and management tools, especially for rare and endangered taxa, their predictive power for recovering populations has rarely been tested. In the new study by Dr. Sabina Nowak from the Association for Nature "Wolf" and her team, compared the predictions of the HSM for wolves in western Poland with the present distribution of the species after 15 years of spontaneous recolonization. Wolves were recorded in 259 cells (19.8% of the study area). The pairs and packs settled in areas predicted by the HSM to have good and very good habitat, in cells characterized by high forest cover and low densities of roads. Wolf groups that reproduced were found in the best-quality habitats characterized by denser forest cover and markedly lower shares of anthropogenic structures. Dispersing individuals were mostly recorded in unsuitable and suboptimal habitats, and they avoided both the poorest and the best habitats. In the initial phase of wolf recovery, cells selected by wolves for settling down and those used by dispersing wolves did not differ in their habitat parameters. However, in the later phase, as WPL became more saturated with wolf packs, dispersing individuals were recorded in less suitable habitats. The HSM for Polish wolves predicted with high accuracy the areas later occupied by wolf groups in the western part of the country. A similar approach may also be useful to predict the future distribution of wolves in the lowlands of central and western Europe where environmental conditions are comparable and recolonizing wolves originate from the same source population.

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