The second slot of the Slovakia wolf, lynx and bear expedition is now well underway.
All members of the group arrived on Sunday to a very wintery Svosov – another snowfall meant all the tracks (both human and local wildlife) were covered. Cleaning the slate and making the path clear for fresh findings, and more trail breaking.
After a thorough induction from Tomas, Paul and Astrid, the group left for their first day in the Velka Fatra National Park. After discussions with the local foresters, we were directed to the remains of a wolf kill by the L’ubochnianka river on the valley floor.
The team adjusted well to the tough going snow levels and the use of snow shoes. We all hiked as one group, in one line up to Lake Blatna making a ‘highway’ (path) in the snow as we went. The intention was to make an ‘easy route’ for animals to travel down, making their presence in that specific area more likely; (they like an easy route as much as we do, and will take the path of least resistance). We placed camera traps down two side valleys on our ‘highway’ and again, we will collect these in a few days.
Today we went out in four small groups of four, with one leader in each. One group were successful in finding wolf tracks from a pack of around three individuals, as well as wolf urine. Another group found boar and otter tracks.
We have been assured some very amusing photos in our debrief tonight, some people get used to snow shoes quicker than others and so today there were a few very close encounters with the valley floor. (For very close inspections of tracks you understand, not because anyone fell over unintentionally….)
This Slovakia expedition is responsible for many great things, needless to say – among the list though are two firsts: the first encounter with snow for two Australian participants (2014 and 2015) and their first ever snowman.