Tuesday, October 16, 2012

GOJAGE 2, brief report of Romania

O. Banea & C. Papp
Copyright © 2012 [Ovidiu C. BANEA]. All Rights Reserved.
Canis aureus moreoticus somewhere in Danube Delta, 
Video recorded on 13.10.2012 by Ovidiu C. Banea & Cristian R. Papp

SISTEM 2012, is the name of autumn stage of European jackal monitoring in Romania and is part of GOJAGE 2 broader activities proposed to be performed in 8 countries of golden jackal home range in Central and SE Europe. These countries are Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy.

The action started on 11th Oct 2012 in Olt county, new region of jackal settlement in southern SubCarpathians. We did survey on Oltet river near Iancu Jianu, Morunesti, Morunglav, Ganeasa, Plesoiu localities but no answer to bioacoustic stimulation was recorded. 

The importance of this step was that we participated in first serious TV documentary about jackal species in Romania, an investigation performed by DIGI 24 HD TV team lead by Romanian television journalist Andrei Udisteanu. 

We installed 10 calling stations for future studies and we established important contact with local Game Management Unit leader, Eng. Gerard Matei (GMU Bals) and Sorin Paun (hunting terrain ranger).
We are very confident in the way of how Bals GMU (Ocolul Silvic Bals) managed jackal settlement announcement of the region and we recognize high profesionalism of this team. 

We have to say that for Olt County (in Southern part of Romania) many news from written press show jackals as harmful carnivore and dangerous mammal without documented data and in a very unprofessional style. Jackals were presented as scaring people: "Oltenians threatened by jackals", as eating and killing dogs and as eating and killing 20 sheep of a local deputy.

On second day we did survey in control area of Dobruja and we installed a new line (5 points) near M. Kogalniceanu locality and we performed survey in Lupilor levee, known area. In the morning we set the camera in a very important region of Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve with no jackal responses to acoustic stimulation, but with one beautiful video recorded individual (see above).
During 3rd night we performed survey on new transect between Crisan and Caraorman villages in the heart of Danube Delta.


  • We installed 4 transects with 20 new calling stations (10 stations in Olt county, 5 stations in Dobruja and 5 stations in mid Danube Delta)
  • We did survey in control area of Dobruja (8 points) and Grindul Lupilor (5 points) and we compared results. We had no response in control area of Dobrogea (last year we had 5 groups here) and we got response only in one station (3 territorial groups) in Lupilor (last year we recorded 6 groups in the points used this year)

2011 survey, performed by Krofel, Cervinka, Banea in Dobrogea, Chituc and Lupilor

  • We installed 5 new points in the middle of the delta (directly from the boat) on the channel between Crisan and Caraorman villages. Here, we got responses from 11 territorial groups in 2 related stations (6 groups in 1st station and 5 groups in the 2nd). On the bank of these points, very active sport fishermen activities were identified, livestock as free cattle and poultry. On the three following points, of the same channel, where only reeds and Salix sp trees could be observed, and no human activities no reponse was recorded.

1) We concluded that for this autumn stage complementary method as video trapping was very important when we look to an area where we know of the existence of territorial group and bioacustic stimulation is not appropiate due to unknown parameters.
2) Due to the lack of responses also in the control area (Dobroge) as on Lupilor, we do not give a major importance of the reduced number of jackal groups in Grindul Lupilor, but we advise new monitoring after 3 months period!
3) The fact that we got responses of jackals where human activities were increased and where released livestock and poultry were observed we think that jackal presence in Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve is very close related to human activities.
4) In areas where recent settlement by jackals was reported (e.g. Olt County) and supposed density is scarce, bioacustic stimulation should be reconsidered or performed in future to assess management and conservation measures derived by clusters´ levels dynamic. 
5) We think that for Romania, in this period (mid October, 2012 year with late summer) the vocal behavior of jackals is observed for territoriality, more than for other comunications (mating, breeding). We heared responses only in 3 points of 33 surveyed this year, but when responses were observed, they came from well separate group and always followed by other groups. No answer were recorded at second broadcast when we played again, observation we all did before. No separate group(1 individual or group) was identified.
6) We suggest that transects with no responses should be removed from the final multivariate analysis, due to possible wrong induced stimulation associated with meteo conditions or other variable not known, yet. If we demonstrate the presence of jackal (with Giannatos technique) in one of the 5 points these transects will be considered.

Ecological network analysis, preliminary questions related to observations.
We observed 4 Enots (Racoon dogs Nyctereus procyonoides), 3 Northern lapwings, peweet or green plover (Vanellus vanellus), 3 Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), where high density of jackal was observed. We can admit that jackals and racoon dogs can share the same habitat and that pheasants and lapwings (Nagâțul In Romanianare not scarce in jackal specific ecological systems. 
More and multidisciplinary studies together with ornitolgists have to be assessed and performed in bird communities nature reservations. We mentioned the late sightings of highly migratory ground nesting Vanellus vanellus which together with possible low jackal responses indicate that another monitoring session should be performed during the winter period to assess better jackal density levels.

Vanellus vanellus BirdLife International 2012

It is known that Vanellus vanellus prefers small grassland for breeding. The nest is a shallow scrape in short grass vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Management information Short swards are the most profitable foraging habitat for the species (Devereux et al. 2004) so the application of cattle-grazing (Olsen and Schmidt 2004), preferably intensively (e.g. > 1 cow per hectare), may be successful in increasing abundances of the species on grasslands. On coastal grazing saltmarsh however it may be desirable to exclude cattle from selected areas in the spring where the rate of grass growth is slow (Hart et al. 2002). 

Ovidiu Banea & Cristian Papp, 16.10.2012

See photoreport and ecology network analysis questions here 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wild animals are on the increase in Europe

Wild carnivores increase in Switzerland
Wolves population increase in Bulgaria

Wild carnivores are increasing their populations in Switzerland (see news here) as in many countries around Europe.

Jackals were phototrapped in Waadt, Friburg and Bern Kantons (KORA news) in December 2011 during Lynx monitoring programm.

"All species are growing in number in one way or another", said Reinhard Schnidrig, who heads the Federal Office for the Environment's department for hunting, wild animals and biodiversity told the Le Temps daily (14. Sept.2012)

“Bears are returning each year in summer” and wolves had “started to reproduce on Swiss soil,” he said. In addition, he said, the first golden jackal had made its way to Switzerland in recent weeks from the Balkans, while lynxes, wild cats and foxes were also prospering.
“Bears share the same kind of behavior,” he said, adding that female bears had also been making their way to Swiss territory.

With the first wolf litters born in the country this year, “we have entered a new era. Wolves will only go on growing in number,” Schnidrig said. (first females arrived in 2006).
Growing forest cover and an abundance of prey such as deer were together facilitating the rise in wild carnivores in Switzerland, he added.

In Bulgaria (Mihaylov & Stoyanov, 2012) wolves population size was increasing in the past 10 years and the wolf expanded its range, as evidenced by hunting statistics. The harvest of wolves in the period 2000 - 2010 was 2-3 times higher compared to the 70s and 80s of the last century.

Friday, October 5, 2012


 (11th of Oct - 25th of Nov 2012)

proposal and broader activities of jackal population monitoring in Central and SE Europe

Next week will start in Romania 2nd Broader Activities of GOJAGE. Collegues from other seven countries were invited to participate to bio-acoustic monitoring session, autumn stage during October and November 2012. 

Data will show jackal species densities in relation with most important ecological factors in several critical points located on the main source population type countries and movements routes. These data will be compared with spring information obtained during another campaign of GOJAGE members, an innovative study proposed by Czech Republic team, Jaroslav Cervinka and Martin Salek in 351 calling stations located in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia. 

During Autumn Stage GOJAGE 2, researchers from Hungary, Greece, Italy and Slovenia will complete the teams already formed in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia. Each team will work independently on the areas within respective country in the same conditions with the same non-invasive, nature friendly technique of bio-acoustic monitoring of jackal species.

In Romania, SISTEM 2012 autumn stage will start in Olt county with Game Management Unit education and human-jackals conflict analysis in a natural area with recent jackal re-settlement and confused demages on livestock. A television investigation will be conducted in this area by DIGI24TV channel,  after different press articles biased against jackals attack appeared with unfounded informations. Ecology Department of NGO Crispus Sibiu organizes the survey period in Romania and for this stage they will try to estimate jackal density levels in points of Calarasi, Olt, Danube Delta and in a control area of Dobruja.

In Croatia, jackal survey will be organized by BIOM NGO Zagreb and the actions continue this autumn stage in central-eastern parts of the country, following Sava river, but also on Peljesac Peninsula during 8-11 Nov 2012 period.

In Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia research teams work on natural areas along the Italian-Slovenian borders (Karst and Southern Julian Pre-Alps) in areas of Transdanubia  in Bács-Kiskun, Baranya, Somogy counties, in natural areas near riverbanks of Toundja river (Evros tributary) near Elkhovo locality, in Evros (Maritsa) Delta and in calling stations from Danube meandrous near Belgrade and other areas elected by the regional teams.

(see details here and specific countries details here)

Ovidiu Banea and Luca Lapini