We would like to thank everyone for the effort they have put in. Remember that without you, none of these data would be collected and no reports would get written up. Next to nothing about the wolf and lynx populations in the Veľká and Mala Fatra national parks was known until only a couple of years ago. With your help and through our long-term research, we are changing this slowly over the years with the ultimate aim of reducing human-wildlife conflict and to create a sustainble future for wolves, lynx, humans and other wildlife in this beautiful part of Slovakia.
Thank you also to our local friends and helpers Franitsek and others, as well as Swarovski Optik and Land Rover for their support of the expedition. It is great to have all of us pulling in one direction together.
Thanks again, have a safe trip back and we hope to see you again sometime!
We are just about to head out on the last day of surveying. We all have tired legs, but we are ready for one last push! Yesterday was the most eventful day yet on the expedition with clear signs of lynx and wolf, as well as carcasses in the valleys. It seems the wolves are hungry after a week of difficult hunting in deep snow. Tomas’s group spent a gruelling day yesterday tracking a wolf pack through thick forest eventually finding a carcass lying beside as stream.
Training day. Everybody found their way around the GPS, compass and the snowshoes ready for this morning when we start again with data collection. Yesterday afternoon the whole team also went on a short survey in the national park to find its feet and check a camera trap. Later in the day we swung by a local village famous for its traditional Slovak rural buildings. Minus three was the maximum temperature yesterday and it is set to get colder. This is fine with us, considering our research efforts were hampered by rain last week.
After training our team up on the research gear and methodology on Sunday and Monday, we split into three snowshoe teams on Tuesday. Like last year Milos took a team high up to a ridge finding two carcasses and a possible lynx track. Tomas’ team was fooled by tracks of possibly wolves or dogs – no one can tell! Tracking is really hard at the moment, though, as there is lots of fresh snow, which melts quickly as we have temperatures around zero. A little colder if it snows, a little warmer if it doesn’t.
In the evening our host Frantisek served us another delicious meal and we were then treated to his international potpourri of songs on the guitar.
On Wednesday we spilt up into four teams, again under difficult conditions as it startet snowing just as we left base. It’s hard to find tracks, but great to be out in this white wilderness.
We have arrived at base and are now setting everything up. The equipment is all sorted and we’ll go to set up some camera traps in a second.
Our host Frantisek made us feel very welcome and has not batted an eyelid at our many strange requests, such as another big table for all the equipment. It’ll be a squeeze into the house, but we’ll manage. Be prepared for cosy room-sharing just like during those good old youth hostel times!
There was plenty of snow when we arrived, but since then a lot of heavy rain. Freezing temperatures are forecast from Saturday onwards again, though.
We’ve also had a meeting with Ivan (the head of the Forestry Departement) to get our permits and support if needed.
Adam will be waiting for you on Sunday morning at 09:15 at Bratislava train station. Our phones work and are as previously advertised.
Just in time for Burns Night, we’re all ready and packed here in England and Germany. A video of Adam, who will be meeting trailblazing group 1 at Bratislava station, is below
There’s snow all across Europe (and for us that includes kicking and screaming bad body England), including Slovakia. Our next diary entry and tracking weather update will be from there. Safe travels to us on the long drive and to you for your trips to Bratislava.
Hello everyone and welcome to the first entry of the 2013 Slovakia diary. We’re Peter Schuette, your expedition leader, and Adam Stickler, Peter’s sidekick for our forthcoming Slovakia adventure.
We’re putting the finishing touches to the paperwork, the equipment has been packed, the cars are serviced and ready to roll, the snow has been falling to give us good tracking conditions and we’re looking forward to our time in Slovakia with our scientist Tomas.
We’ll meet in Germany in 9 days, pack up all the gear (see picture below) and then drive south and east to base five days ahead of you to set up. In case you are wondering what’s in all the boxes, it’s paperwork, scat collection kits, books, batteries, GPSs, etc. You can also see the walking poles, radios, a map, first aid pack (which we’ll hopefully never use) and lots of top-notch Swarovski Optik gear (which we’ll hopefully use lots) on there.
That’s it for now. We’ll be in touch again from Slovakia with more updates. See you there in due course.