Home Newsletter 2011 Wolf and bear monitoring in Romania

by George Predoiu

In Romania wolf and bear monitoring was done using modern techniques such as photo trapping cameras, snow tracking on transects using GPS, and also older techniques such as direct observation at feeding points and passage routes. Although some cases of vandalism (destroying or stealing of cameras) were recorded, both methods proved to be very useful in wolf and bear monitoring. The camera traps were installed in the Dalnic-Moacsa and Herculian-Cormos areas, near fourteen feeding points and passage routes. At least two cameras were installed in each selected location.

Results on wolf monitoring

The results showed a relatively constant number of wolves in the last two years. In the Dalnic area, there were seven wolves both in 2010 and in 2011. In the Garcin area, six wolves were identified in 2010, and an additional two in 2011. In the Herculian-Cormos area there were 23 individuals present in 2010 and 25 present in 2011.

Comparing these figures with the optimum number, established on the basis of current regulations (three wolves per area for Dalnic and Garcin, and ten wolves for the Herculian-Cormos area), the real number is higher than the estimated optimum for all project areas. This could explain the high rates of wolf attacks on shepherd camps. In the summer of 2011 alone, 92 domestic animals were killed by wolves.

Results on bear monitoring

Using the techniques described above, we were able to distinguish the gender of the bears and to separate them into different age categories. In the Dalnic area 24 bears were identified both in 2010 and in 2011. Six of these were younger than two years, five were young adults and thirteen were mature adults capable of reproduction (seven males and six females). The optimum number of bears within this area is eight, therefore, there seem to be three times more bears than the optimum density.

In the Garcin valley, 22 bears were counted in 2010 and 23 in 2011. Thirteen of these bears were mature adults, five were young adults and four were cubs. In this area, as well as in the previous one, the actual number of bears is higher than the optimum, which was estimated at fourteen.

In the Herculian-Cormos area 99 bears seemed to be present in 2010. There were sixty-three mature adults (35 males and 28 females), 20 young adults and 16 cubs. The following year four more individuals were discovered, increasing the number to 103. These bears all live in a habitat that is estimated to hold barely 28.