Association for Nature Wolf

Twardorzeczka, Poland

Association for Nature Wolf

Twardorzeczka, Poland
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Nowak S.,Association for Nature Wolf | Myslajek R.W.,University of Warsaw
Applied Ecology and Environmental Research | Year: 2017

We investigated the number, distribution and human-caused mortality of wolves in western Poland during different management regimes. During intensive eradication (1951-1974) at least 49 wolves were exterminated (on average 2.6 wolves per year), and the species was reported in up to 4 forests per year (mean 1.7), but most of the family groups bred only once before being killed. Under hunting management (1975-1997) wolves were recorded in 1-4 forests per year (mean 3.1). Most of them did not breed or bred only once before they were harvested in the first year after detection. During this time period at least 70 individuals were harvested (on average 3.0 wolves per year). After the wolf became a protected species in 1998, the number of wolf groups increased to 30 in winter 2012/2013, while the number of forests inhabited by wolves increased to 14. Our study provides further confirmation that recreational hunting conducted in populations of wolves living far from a source of immigrants, in areas heavily altered by humans, where access by hunters to the most distant refuges is enabled by a dense network of forest roads, has a detrimental impact on wolf survival comparable to the effects of systematic eradication. We recommend that management plans for such subpopulations should be preceded by careful analysis of population viability and connectivity with source populations. © 2017, ALÖKI Kft., Budapest, Hungary.

Chapron G.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Kaczensky P.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Linnell J.D.C.,Norwegian Institute for Nature Research | Von Arx M.,KORA | And 76 more authors.
Science | Year: 2014

The conservation of large carnivores is a formidable challenge for biodiversity conservation. Using a data set on the past and current status of brown bears (Ursus arctos), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), gray wolves (Canis lupus), and wolverines (Gulo gulo) in European countries, we show that roughly one-third of mainland Europe hosts at least one large carnivore species, with stable or increasing abundance in most cases in 21st-century records. The reasons for this overall conservation success include protective legislation, supportive public opinion, and a variety of practices making coexistence between large carnivores and people possible. The European situation reveals that large carnivores and people can share the same landscape.

Czarnomska S.D.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Jedrzejewska B.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Borowik T.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Niedzialkowska M.,Polish Academy of Sciences | And 14 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2013

Phylogeographic studies of highly mobile large carnivores suggest that intra-specific genetic differentiation of modern species might be the consequence of the most recent Pleistocene glaciation. However, the relative influence of biogeographical processes and subsequent human-induced population fragmentation requires a better understanding. Poland represents the western edge of relatively continuous distributions of many wide-ranging species, e.g. lynx (Lynx lynx), wolves (Canis lupus), moose (Alces alces) and, therefore, a key area for understanding historic and contemporary patterns of gene flow in central Europe. We examined wolf genetic structure in Poland and in a recently recolonized area in eastern Germany using microsatellite profiles (n = 457) and mitochondrial DNA sequencing (mtDNA, n = 333) from faecal samples. We found significant genetic structure and high levels of differentiation between wolves in the Carpathian Mountains and the Polish lowlands. Our findings are consistent with previously reported mtDNA subdivision between northern lowlands and southern mountains, and add new and concordant findings based on autosomal marker variation. Wolves in western Poland and eastern Germany showed limited differentiation from northeastern Poland. Although the presence of private alleles suggests immigration also from areas not sampled in this study, most individuals seem to be immigrants from northeastern Poland or their descendants. We observed moderate genetic differentiation between certain northeastern lowland regions separated by less than 50 km. Moreover, mtDNA results indicated a southeastern subpopulation near the border with Ukraine. The observed structure might reflect landscape fragmentation and/or ecological differences resulting in natal habitat-biased dispersal. © 2013 The Author(s).

Popa-Lisseanu A.G.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Sorgel K.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Luckner A.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Wassenaar L.I.,Environment Canada | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Despite a commitment by the European Union to protect its migratory bat populations, conservation efforts are hindered by a poor understanding of bat migratory strategies and connectivity between breeding and wintering grounds. Traditional methods like mark-recapture are ineffective to study broad-scale bat migratory patterns. Stable hydrogen isotopes (δD) have been proven useful in establishing spatial migratory connectivity of animal populations. Before applying this tool, the method was calibrated using bat samples of known origin. Here we established the potential of δD as a robust geographical tracer of breeding origins of European bats by measuring δD in hair of five sedentary bat species from 45 locations throughout Europe. The δD of bat hair strongly correlated with well-established spatial isotopic patterns in mean annual precipitation in Europe, and therefore was highly correlated with latitude. We calculated a linear mixed-effects model, with species as random effect, linking δD of bat hair to precipitation δD of the areas of hair growth. This model can be used to predict breeding origins of European migrating bats. We used δ 13C and δ 15N to discriminate among potential origins of bats, and found that these isotopes can be used as variables to further refine origin predictions. A triple-isotope approach could thereby pinpoint populations or subpopulations that have distinct origins. Our results further corroborated stable isotope analysis as a powerful method to delineate animal migrations in Europe. © 2012 Popa-Lisseanu et al.

Huck M.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Huck M.,University of Pennsylvania | Jedrzejewski W.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Borowik T.,Polish Academy of Sciences | And 3 more authors.
Acta Theriologica | Year: 2010

Determining ecological corridors is crucial for conservation efforts in fragmented habitats. Commonly employed least cost path (LCP) analysis relies on the underlying cost matrix. By using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis, we minimized the problems connected with subjective cost assessment or the use of presence/absence data. We used data on the wolf presence/absence in Poland to identify LCPs connecting patches of suitable wolf habitat, factors that influence patch occupancy, and compare LCPs between different genetic subpopulations. We found that a lower proportion of cities and roads surrounds the most densely populated patches. Least cost paths between areas where little dispersal takes place (i.e., leading to unpopulated patches or between different genetic subpopulations) ran through a higher proportion of roads and human settlements. They also crossed larger maximal distances over deforested areas. We propose that, apart from supplying the basis for direct conservation efforts, LCPs can be used to determine what factors might facilitate or hinder dispersal by comparing different subsets of LCPs. The methods employed can be widely applicable to gain more in-depth information on potential dispersal barriers for large carnivores. © The Author(s) 2010.

Bashta A.-T.,Ukrainian Academy of Sciences | Piskorski M.,Maria Curie Sklodowska University | Myslajek R.W.,Association for Nature Wolf | Tereba A.,Polish Academy of Sciences | And 2 more authors.
Folia Zoologica | Year: 2011

Recently described Myotis alcathoe has been recorded in Ukraine for the first time and at eight new localities in three distant and geographically diverse areas of Poland (the mountains, the uplands and the lowlands). This data extends its distribution range in Central Europe and confirms it as a native breeding species in Poland. Specific identification of bats was confirmed by sequencing ND1 gene of mtDNA. In Poland its reproduction has been recorded in Łez•czok reserve, Silesian Foothill and in Roztocze National Park. Bats were observed mostly within old broadleaved and mixed forests, near water, at altitude ranging from 112 to 736 m a.s.l. The only known roosting site for the species is a cave which is used both in spring and during the swarming period. In Poland the species co-occurred with both M. brandtii and M. mystacinus or with M. brandtii at all sites.

Nowak S.,Association for Nature Wolf | Myslajek R.W.,Association for Nature Wolf | Klosinska A.,Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences | Gabrys G.,Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences | Gabrys G.,University of Zielona Gora
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2011

Wolf Canis lupus diet was studied by scat analysis in four main and several other locations recolonised by this species in Central and Western Poland between 2002 and 2009. Wild ungulates made up 94.8% of the total biomass of food consumed, with the most common being roe deer Capreolus capreolus (42.8%), wild boar Sus scrofa (22.6%) and red deer Cervus elaphus (22.2%). Supplementary prey were: fallow deer Dama dama (2.7%), brown hare Lepus europeus (2.5%) and Eurasian beaver Castor fiber (1.4%). Domestic animals, exclusively dogs and cats, made up 1.0% of food biomass. A high similarity in the ratio of wild ungulate species in wolf food biomass between study sites was observed. Wolves hunted wild ungulate species accordingly to their relative abundance in the community. As wild ungulates are abundant and livestock density is low the large forest tracts of Western Poland seems to be very good habitat for wolves. Therefore, with more dispersing wolves from Eastern Poland and Eastern Germany, wolf recovery could significantly accelerate in the next few years in this region. © 2011 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.

Nowak S.,Association for Nature Wolf | Myslajek R.W.,University of Warsaw
Mammal Research | Year: 2016

Since the mid-twentieth century, under different management regimes (over 20 years of a wolf control program followed by 20 years of trophy hunting), wolves were absent or rare in Western Poland (hereinafter WPL). They became strictly protected in the whole country in 1998 and started to re-settle the vast forests of WPL, far (376 ± 106.5 km) from the source population in eastern Poland. In 2002–2012, the population increased from several to approximately 140 wolves living in 30 family groups, with an annual rate of increase of 38 % (λ = 1.38, SE = 0.10). The area of permanent occurrence increased from 600 to 10,900 km2, with an average density of 1.3 wolves/100 km2. The nearest neighbour distance between wolf territories decreased from 260 to 25 km. In 2001–2005, half of the settlement efforts by wolves failed after 1–2 years whereas in 2006–2009 only one fifth of newly settled wolves failed to persist >2 years. The number of wolves in groups varied from 2 to 9, and the mean group size increased from 1.8 in 2001 to 4.8 in 2012. The survival of pups from May to the end of November was 50 % (the mean number of pups per litter was 5.1 and 2.5, respectively). Of 28 wolves found dead, 65 % were killed by vehicles, 25 % were poached, and 7 % died because of diseases and natural factors. All road casualties were young wolves, most of them male (67 %), hit on roads on average 11.6 km from the centre of the nearest pack. The re-colonisation of WPL started from jump dispersal, which allowed wolves to establish packs in distant locations. As the recovery proceeded, the dispersal pattern shifted to being stratified, a mixture of diffusion and jump dispersal that resulted in the creation of packs in close vicinity to existing groups. After 12 years of re-colonisation, wolves in Western Poland occupied about 30 % of potential suitable habitats. © 2016, Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland.

Myslajek R.W.,Association for Nature Wolf | Nowak S.,Association for Nature Wolf | Rozen A.,Jagiellonian University | Jedrzejewska B.,Polish Academy of Sciences
Animal Biology | Year: 2012

We studied the socio-spatial ecology of the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) along the altitudinal gradient (250-1257 m a.s.l.) of the Western Carpathians (Southern Poland), 2004-2009. Family groups were small (mean 2.3 individuals) and home-ranges large (mean 5.42 km2, MCP 100%), which gave a low population density (2.2 individuals/10 km2). Badgers foraged mainly in the foothills, irrespective of the altitude at which their sett was located. They mostly searched for food in meadows, pastures and arable fields (34.4% of telemetry locations), or among shrubs (33.9%). Badgers were killed by hunters (0.37 individuals/10 km2 annually), and by wolves (0.07 individuals/10 km2). The badger population density was influenced mostly by the abundance of earthworms and hunting pressure, while the size and shape of their territories was determined by the distribution of foraging grounds. © 2012 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.

Myslajek R.W.,Association for Nature Wolf | Nowak S.,Association for Nature Wolf | Jedrzejewska B.,Polish Academy of Sciences
Folia Zoologica | Year: 2012

We studied the location of Eurasian badger (Meles meles) setts in relation to various environmental factors, and attempted to assess the role of competition with other burrowing carnivores and the importance of human activity on their sett selection in the Western Carpathians (southern Poland). Excavated dens (53 %), caves and rock crevices (43 %), and burrows under buildings (4 %), were used by badgers as permanent shelters. Setts were located mostly in foothills (< 680 m a.s.l.), but selection for den location within the lower montane zone (680- 980 m a.s.l.) was also observed. Excavated setts were recorded only up to 640 m a.s.l., while setts in rock crevices occurred up to 1050 m a.s.l. Badger shelters were mainly situated in forests or covered by dense bushes. Badgers avoided northern slopes in all altitudinal zones, and located their burrows mostly on SE or W slopes in foothills, and S or E slopes in montane zones. Setts were placed further from human settlements and main roads, but closer to meadows with high earthworm biomass, when compared with random points. Within badger territories, 1-12 setts were recorded. Badgers occupying territories which included both foothills and montane zones used burrows at various altitudes, but their main setts used for overwintering, were located exclusively above 800 m a.s.l. We conclude that sett location by badgers in mountains is shaped not only by the availability of cover and geological factors influencing digging, but also by human pressure and distance to foraging areas.

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