The first week of the 2015 Slovakia expedition seems to have flown by and this morning friends from the first slot boarded the train to Bratislava (except Helene who has a nine hour drive ahead). Katie and Sarah will be staying on for the second slot and will be joined by nine new faces and a returning participant, Aly, from the 2014 expedition.
It was sad to say goodbye to Rosie, Johan, Nick (not Ian), the three ‘friends’ (Savi, Peter and David), Helene and Barabara. Everyone has got on really well and exceeded expectations in the amount of ground we have covered on the transects, given the deep snow conditions. In all we completed 17 transects and a total of 209 km between us. Records include tracks from one bear, one wild cat, one otter, one badger, eight lynx and 21 wolf track locations (we believe we have locations recorded for all three wolf packs thought to be using the valley). We have also collected three lynx urine samples and two wolf urine samples. This is a really great result and your energetic efforts wading through the snow are very much appreciated.
Frantisek, our host at Chata Dolinka, was also sad to see everyone go this morning, especially I suspect his guitar-playing buddy Nick. Today he has been very busy getting the base ready for group 2 arriving tomorrow. All of us still at the base wish you a safe journey home and hope to see you again.
We also look forward to meeting up with group 2 on Sunday (Astrid will be in Bratislava to meet everyone at the train station at 09.15 on Sunday morning) to continue collecting some valuable data on the large carnivores in the Lubochnianska valley.