Building Strong Partnership: Involving Hunters in Wolf-Prey Ecosystem Functioning Understanding
Hunters often blame predators for reducing the game abundance and availability and this might be the cause for a widespread conflict among wolves and hunters, however, little is known on the effect of the predation pressure and resource use in wolf-wild prey-livestock systems in Europe.
This action aims to determine the predation pressure mainly on wildlife (but also on domestic animals) by integrating human practices (hunting), in strict partnership with hunters. The knowledge of interactions between the wolves, wild and domestic preys in its eco-systemic dimension is a prerequisite to have practical decision making support tools for species and land management in their entirety, and this gets particularly effective if conducted through a participatory approach.
The action will be implemented through two steps:
1. Implementation of the predator-prey-hunter relationship evaluations.
In this phase the participation of hunting, forestry and agricultural partners in the project of the study site is a prerequisite. The work will consist of capturing and radio-collaring 1-4 wolves and 10 prey species (e.g. roe deer/red deer) in 4 core areas in France , Italy and Slovenia where wolves and prey are present and 1 area in Italy where wolves are not present and prey are present, as a control area for the all evaluation.
2. Active involvement of hunting organizations and hunters in the development of action.
Meetings and workshops/trainings to be organized to develop a continuous participatory approach. In particular:
- in the areas where the evaluation will be conducted directly, we will hold workshops / trainings for the field activities dedicated to hunters and personnel from partners for ungulate captures (roe deer) and participation in the evaluation in each area.
- involvement of the hunters in disseminating the findings beyond the evaluation areas, in collaboration with hunter associations and districts, and through the dedicated awareness campaign.