LIFE Project Cover Photo

Implement best practices for in-situ conservation of the species Canis lupus in the Eastern Carpathians

Reference: LIFE13 NAT/RO/000205 | Acronym: WOLFLIFE

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The Carpathian Mountains are home to the second-largest population of wolf (Canis lupus) in the European Union. Wolves in this area, however, are threatened by a range of factors, including habitat fragmentation, poaching and conflict with hunters, weak institutional management, and negative public attitudes.


OBJECTIVES

The overall objective of the WOLFLIFE project was to maintain a viable wolf population in the Carpathian Mountains. The projects area covers the central and southern parts of the Eastern Carpathians, including 18 Natura 2000 network sites in which the wolf is protected. Data obtained during the project will form the basis for developing an effective action plan to maintain a viable wolf population, in line with EU policy regarding the conservation and sustainable management of large carnivores. The projects specific aims were to improve the management of the wolf by drafting a participatory national action plan; promote better coexistence between the wolf and local stakeholder groups, especially farmers and hunters; prevent the decline of the wolf population by limiting poaching and improving habitat connectivity; transfer expertise gained to ensure the development of adequate training for the conservation of the wolf; reduce damage caused by wolves; and change the hostile public and stakeholder perception of the wolf through public awareness campaigns.


RESULTS

WOLFLIFE successfully developed a National Action Plan for the wolf (Canis lupus) in Romania, implemented diverse conservation actions for wolf populations in 18 Natura 2000 network sites, and helped positively change attitudes regarding wolves in society.

The project team developed the National Action Plan (NAP) for the wolf in Romania, which was approved in July 2018 by the Minister for the Environment. As part of the NAP, guidelines were developed and pioneering methods implemented for robust population estimates of the national wolf populations. The project team proposed innovative measures for assessing the size, distribution, structure and dynamics of the wolf population. An integrated sampling procedure and methodology, for instance, was demonstrated for the wolf population in the Eastern Carpathians. The NAP was given a high visibility, for example, through an article published in National Geographic. Effective wolf management and conservation strategies were developed.

Improving wolf-human coexistence and developing good practices for preventing conflicts with wolves was a key success story of WOLFLIFE. The project led to the establishment of the Centre for the Reproduction, Care and Surveillance of Livestock Guarding Dogs (CRISCPS), including the setting up of a kennel for the breeding of native dog breeds traditionally used by shepherds for farm protection, training areas, accommodation space, and veterinary treatment facilities. A breeding programme for livestock guarding dogs was successfully launched, along with the establishment of a long-term guard dog owners network. The project team identified and evaluated traditional livestock farms, in terms of the risk of damage from wolves. The project implemented best practices and demonstration actions, including the use of electrical systems and repellents, to reduce conflicts between livestock farmers and wolves in six pilot areas. In addition, the project team developed plans and methodologies to estimate the density of wandering feral dogs in wolf habitats, which compete with wolves for prey. They collected and removed 7 751 feral dogs from wolf habitat areas. A demonstration campaign was also conducted for feral dog sterilisation, and vaccination to reduce the risk of diseases being passedfrom feral dogs to wolves.

The project team identified 19 dens and 13 rendezvous areas for wolves, identified 36 risk areas in which there is the possibility of wolf habitat fragmentation, and developed technical proposals for the permeability of existing transport infrastructure to facilitate wolf movement across seven national road and five railway sections. Project action also improved the management of the wolf's key prey species. A Best Practice Manual for the management of prey-species of wolves was produced. The consequence of implementing these methods to improve prey availability should be a lower attack frequency of wolfs on livestock.

The project is highly relevant to the implementation of the EU Habitats Directives and for agri-environmental schemes, as the aim was to reach and maintain the favourable conservation status of Natura 2000 habitats and species. The long-term environmental benefit is increasing the wolf populations conservation status, in an area which comprises one of the largest wolf populations in Europe. The nature conservation status of Natura 2000 project areas will be improved and will support richer biodiversity.

Moreover, some of the project team members are part of the National Working Group on Wolf Conservation, and the Ministry has recognised the value of the project for establishing the most appropriate conservation measures for wolves in Romania. As a result of participation at international conferences and other specialised events, and through scientific publications, the project expanded its impact to a European level.

Several actions dealt with socio-economic effects. The implementation of the best practices and demonstrative actions to reduce conflict between farmers and wolves, and protect livestock, in the six pilot areas led to increased farmers income by reducing the number of animals lost to wolves. The project team implemented a series of activities for raising awareness among local people of all ages regarding the importance of wolves and their prey species. The coordinating beneficiary also organised information and training sessions for hunters, who are key stakeholders in the process, as well as mounting information panels in the 18 Natura 2000 sites where the project took place.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE13 NAT/RO/000205
Acronym: WOLFLIFE
Start Date: 01/07/2014
End Date: 28/02/2019
Total Budget: 942,902 €
EU Contribution: 707,175 €
Project Location:
Project Website: http://www.carnivoremari.ro

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: Agentia pentru Protectia Mediului Vrancea
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Dinicu Golescu no 2, 620106, Focsani, Romania
Contact Person: Silviu Chiriac
Email: vrancealife@yahoo.co.uk
Tel: 40237206788
Fax: 40237206788


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Mammals

KEYWORDS

  • protected area
  • nature conservation
  • management plan
  • mountainous area

TARGET EU LEGISLATION

  • COM(2006)508 - ?Communication on the development of agri-environmental indicators for monitoring the integration of environmental concerns into the common agricultural policy? (15.09.2006)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)

TARGET HABITAT TYPES

  • 0 - Non applicable (i.e.species project)

SPECIES

  • Canis lupus

NATURA 2000 SITES

Type Code Name
SCI ROSCI0019 C?limani - Gurghiu
SCI ROSCI0024 Ceahl?u
SCI ROSCI0027 Cheile Bicazului - H??ma?
SCI ROSCI0047 Creasta Nemirei
SCI ROSCI0090 Harghita M?d?ra?
SCI ROSCI0130 Oituz - Ojdula
SCI ROSCI0156 Mun?ii Go?man
SCI ROSCI0208 Putna - Vrancea
SCI ROSCI0228 ?indrili?a
SCI ROSCI0241 Tinovul Apa Lina - Honcsok
SCI ROSCI0270 Vān?tori - Neam?
SPA ROSPA0018 Cheile Bicazului - H??ma?
SCI ROSCI0395 Soveja
SPA ROSPA0088 Mun?ii Vrancei
SCI ROSCI0297 Dealurile Tārnavei Mici - Biche?
SCI ROSCI0323 Muntii Ciucului
SCI ROSCI0327 Nemira - Lapo?

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Agentia pentru Protectia Mediului Vrancea Coordinator
ACDB(Asociatia pentru Conservarea Diversității Biologice), Romania Participant
APM CV(Agentia pentru Protectia Mediului Judetul Covasna), Romania Participant
APM HR(Agentia pentru Protectia Mediului Harghita), Romania Participant

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