Yesterday we undertook three transects in the valley through fresh snowfall, which had covered all but the most recent tracks. This was a good opportunity to use the snow shoes and hike through a white wilderness. We also retrieved the photo SD cards from the camera traps. At the debrief yesterday evening Tomas summarised the findings from the week and our pin board showing data recorded in each of the study cells is now looking nice and full with 22 cells surveyed and wolf recorded in 12 cells, lynx in 3 cells, bear in 7 cells and golden eagle in 3 cells. We had a great result on one of the camera traps which had filmed both a fox and a wolf, although the images were blurred by the rapid movement of the animals it clearly shows the difference in size of these two canine inhabitants of the valley.
The evening evolved into an end of slot party with Frantishek playing his guitar including a fine rendition of Yellow Submarine, which we were able to sing along with some other Slovakian tunes that were also appreciated.
Today we said a sad farewell to Louise, Chrissy, Jac, Edward, Georg, Doris and Lawrence at the train station in Kralovany. Katie, our most experienced Slovakia expeditioner is staying on for Slot 2. Karolina, our Slovakian student placement, has also headed home, but told me that she wished she was able to stay on for the second slot and her experience will help her talk with her friends and hopefully pursue a career in biology and wildlife conservation in her beautiful and diverse country.
Phil is heading to Bratislava with Tomas where Phil will meet the Slot 2 participants in the main hall of Bratislava train station at 09:00 tomorrow. His mobile number in Slovakia is 0918 748 291 if you need to contact him. Paul (0915 512 437) is remaining at base to prepare for Slot 2 and is looking forward to meeting everyone tomorrow when you arrive in Kralovany around 13:00.
A big thank you to Slot 1 for all your hard work collecting such important data over the last week! We look forward to Slot 2 providing a further week’s data, which combined will enable Tomas to produce another robust report concerning the status of large carnivores in our Lubochnianska valley study site.