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Monitoring of carnivores

Image of a wolf on the snow

Since the foundation of the Park, its two main carnivores, the wolf and the Marsican brown bear, have been at the centre of monitoring and conservation activities conducted both through investigations of the Park and the EU Life Programme.

The first cognitive investigations on wolves were carried out through snow tracking, a method which, by following the footprints of wolves on the snow thanks to the simultaneous presence of different teams on the area, gives access to information concerning the distribution, the number of wolf packs and the amount of different groups.

In addition to this activity, the LIFE COEX project introduced a monitoring system through induced howling, the so-called wolf howling that permits, during the summer time, the identification of the reproductive units and of the areas where wolfs build their dens. The simultaneous use of these two techniques has provided accurate information on the wolf population that is present every year in the area of the Park. These investigations were combined with a monitoring system through camera traps videos and photos that produced a huge amount of data with a relatively low commitment.

Over the last years, this method has provided a lot of information, for example on the sample size, the structure by sex and age, the reproductive condition, the marking behaviour and the health condition. The Life Wolfnet project makes use of a newer and more sophisticated methodology, which permits, through the use of GPS collars, to constantly follow the movements of the wolves and to know in detail the shape and dimensions of the area, the activity rhythms and the predatory activity on wild ungulates and grazing livestock.

As far as the bear is concerned, besides the detection of signs of presence and the use of camera traps videos, a genetic monitoring program has been implemented to provide in a non-invasive way information concerning the number of individuals, their sex and their movements. Many of the activities carried out within these projects have become routine monitoring for the Park, which operates in order to constantly provide the necessary information to protect these two carnivores.

Image of the monitoring and capture of a wolf
Image of a wolf
Image of a wolf
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