Optimization of an integrated surveillance of the wolf status at the international alpine population level
Successful wolf conservation in a human dominated landscape such as the Alps is possible only with an efficient, coordinated, transboundary, science-based surveillance of the system. Detailed knowledge is necessary to understand the conservation status of the wolf population, for the implementation of conservation actions and for proper communication.
We will set the basis for the first integrated Alpine surveillance of the wolf status through two sub-actions:
A5.1 Organization of the best cost-effective strategy to optimize the integrated surveillance of the wolf status at the international alpine population level
An elusive lifestyle and large population ranges that transcend national borders make surveillance of wolf populations challenging. We will conduct the first coordinated wolf surveillance at the international population level, which will be a huge effort in coordination and standardization of techniques.
- the alpine Scientific Committee (Action A1) will define the best cost-effective strategy to optimize the integrated surveillance of the Wolf Alpine Population Status.
- we will adapt each country’s strategy to the international needs.
Based on these efforts we will have an established population surveillance system, based on shared protocols, to join transboundary information in Action C4.
A5.2 Development of cutting-edge genetic tools for fast, reliable and cost-effective surveillance of wolf conservation status
Genetics is rapidly becoming one of the most important tools in wildlife management, which allows for rapid and cost-effective surveying of population parameters. The last decade provided us with advances in DNA sequencing, with increases in speed and decreases in costs. The emerging high-throughput DNA sequencing produced rapid advances in medicine and other fields, but is slow to trickle into wildlife surveillance: we plan to develop similar methods for wolves. This will provide comparable results, with fast and cost effective genotyping of wolf samples. This means that dispersing wolves whose samples are analyzed in different countries could be identified, assisting in tracking population expansion in new areas.
Few steps will be needed:
- Create a Genetic wolf alpine group, which will involve the genetic labs that worked on wolf monitoring in the Alps at the country level.
- Genetic workshop to find agreement and define the optimal strategy and methods to develop the HTS for large scale coordination and comparison of data.
- Start implementing the work for developing the new technique at University of Ljubljana.
- Invite all the genetic labs for training sessions at University of Ljubljana for the global implementation of the method, with a final genetic workshop in Slovenia.