Last Saturday, on the 15th February, the European Wilderness Society, together with Dinaricum NGO, held a wildlife tracking citizens engagement activity in Slovenia, financed by the Interreg Volunteer Youth Initiative. Nature enthusiasts met in the morning in the Infocentre of Triglav National Park to learn about the two societies, the European Cohesion Policy and EU-funded projects in the region. After a theoretical presentation about wildlife tracking, the team was divided into six groups and headed out to the field. Accompanied by rangers of Triglav National Park, the main purpose of the tracking was to monitor the wolf population in the area.
Please also read: Howling for wolves in Slovenia
The wolves are newcomers to Pokljuka, as the first two arrived in 2018. One of them is the son of wolf Slavc who came back to his father’s homeland from Italy, while the female’s origin is unknown. In 2019, their reproduction was confirmed, so the wolf pack on Pokljuka is currently forming. Pokljuka is a large forest plateau on the edge of Triglav National Park, famous especially for biathlon races.
As the wolves are only now settling in the area, it is so much more important to learn about them. The main two methods of monitoring are through the summer monitoring with howling and through non-invasive genetic sampling. In the latter, wolf scats, urine and hair are collected – which is what we were looking for.
Considering that there was little snow on Pokljuka, the tracking was very successful. Not only did we find many wolf tracks but were also rewarded by 7 wolf scats and one wolf urine. We took samples of them, which will be genetically analysed at Biotechnical Faculty, the University of Ljubljana. In addition, we also saw tracks of many other animals, including bear, red and roe deer, marten, black grouse, capercaillie, red squirrel, wild cat, badger, fox and others.