Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ALERT! Otis tarda and jackals in Burgenland Austria, relation to be monitored!

by Ovidiu C. Banea

It seems, (news HERE) that Environmental Board Authorities from Burgenland Austria are preparing a law to become in discussion and possible applied during the coming January 2017 on the hot topic of declaring or not, jackal species as IAS (Invasive Alien Species). Just by supposition that jackal species could appear in the natural areal of the great bustard Otis tarda, Game Mangement Authority is close to name jackals as IAS and purpose specific harvesting and hunting management, while is known that in Austria only few jackal sightings were reported in the recent past, and these at the Hungarian border.

GOJAGE remembers Austrian Game Management Authorities that a condition to be fill before every kind of management measure in case of the golden jackal species is to demonstrate the exponential growth of the actual living population, this after colonization period, then to assure the allochtonous character, which in case of jackal species it was already demonstrated to be errouneously considered, as the species is considered a natural colonizer, and yes ultimately to be demonstrated a direct negative impact to protected or endangered biota. In this case, if a possible negative impact relation could be demonstrated in relation to Otis tarda, the species requiers an International debate and scientific studies to be eventually considered in a determined area with "Invasiveness" not even IAS, being perfect possible to be declared full protected in the proximal land. More data and "Letter of Complaint" in the Baltic case (here). This letter and arguments determined Lithuanian authorities and from other Baltic states to avoid Invasive Alien Species nomenclature in case of the European golden jackal.
The great bustard Otis tarda (in green resident populations)

Otis tarda Factsheet (European Union)

Although the great bustard has a wide range, its population in Europe is now highly fragmented, surviving only in relatively isolated pockets in a few EU Member States (half the EU population is found in Spain). The threats are relatively well known : 

• Agricultural intensification: the most critical threat comes from continued habitat loss resulting from ploughing up grasslands, intensifying cereal production to mono-cropping or permanent crops, and irrigating dry culture land;
• Infrastructure development: other land use changes such as afforestation, construction of roads, powerlines, wind farms, housing etc. in or near the species range also causes habitat loss and significant disturbance leading to a reduced breeding success;
• Application of certain agricultural practices: the use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers in core bird habitat, ploughing of fallow in spring, early harvesting and burning of stubble in summer can destroy nests, poison adults and reduce food sources;
• Change of crops: a reduction in alfalfa or other leguminous winter crops affects the birds’ chances of survival due to reduced food sources and cover in winter;
• Overgrazing: inappropriate grazing management may damage breeding grounds;
• Collision with powerlines: bustards are big birds, their poor manoeuvrability in flight renders them unable to evade poorly marked powerlines. Collision with overhead cables is a significant cause of death in some countries. Small populations can be totally destroyed by a single powerline;
• Human disturbance: disturbance causes stress, desertion of clutches, and in the case of young birds, a reduction in time spent feeding. Disturbance at the display sites disrupts social behaviour and usually prevents reproduction;
Predation: eggs and chicks are predated by foxes, corvids and dogs

The question of how jackals could affect negatively the great bustard remains to be addressed to the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW) and ask a detailed integrate monitoring to Otis tarda species, red foxes, and also for jackals and other known threats identification in the specified natural areas to assess the species applied ecology and natural areas invasibility before every management measure which may produce irreversible effects to golden jackal species.
The Golden jackal is a Community Interest species ("Habitats Directive" 92/43/EEC) listed in Annex Va together with pine marten (Martes martes), European polecat (Mustela putorius) and chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) between other mammals. Monitoring of conservation status is an obligation arising from Article 11 of the Habitats Directive for all habitats (as listed in Annex I) and species of Community interest (as listed in Annex II, IV and V) . Consequently this provision is not restricted to Natura 2000 sites and data need to be collected both in and outside the Natura 2000 network to achieve a full appreciation of conservation status. The main results of this monitoring have to be reported to the Commission every six years according to Article 17 of the directive.
After all, the Golden jackal invasiveness, the arrival (introduced by humans?), spreading and establishing of a new survival population, should be carefully assessed and in regions with high invasibility degree to be differentiate of the erroneously discussed IAS (invasive alien species) nomenclature, which in case of the Golden jackal was largely assessed by several European research groups and scientific community (European Commission ALERT: Jackal should not be considered as IAS in Europe).

13th of December 2016
Reykjavik, Iceland

AXA WZL 2017, jackal susceptible ecological system monitoring in Lithuania

by Ovidiu C. Banea

During the period 13th-16th January 2017 a team organized by Gintarė Žalkauskaitė from Baltijos Vilkas NGO Vilnius Lithuania and Ovidiu C. Banea from Ecology Department of NGO Crispus Sibiu Romania will perform bio-acoustic monitoring in natural areas susceptible to be jackal specific ecological systems in Southern Lithuania. The winter wildlife survey it is named AXA WZL 2017 after the names of protected natural areas, national parks and agriculture farmlands where the activities will take place: Wigry National Park (NE Poland), Žuvinto Biosphere Reserve with Cepkeliai Nature Reserve near Dzukija National Park and Labanoras National Park. During this winter stage a number of more than 40 calling stations will be installed in Lithuania. These points will be used systematically for future jackal density determinations, to evaluate if this species will be able to spread and establish survival clusters and teritorial groups in the region. During the meeting the organizers will share experience of wolf, jackal and other carnivore species ecological system integrative monitoring during a brief International Colloquium.

AXA WZL 2017 GOJAGE Winter wildlife survey in Lithuania

Protected areas: SCI and SPA

Wolves distribution map

Lynx distribution map

Red foxes distribution map

Wigry NE Poland,  Žuvinto Biosphere Reserve and Cepkeliai-Dzukija National Park

Labanoro NP

New data on jackal jackal monitoring Austria

Jennifer Hatlauf presented in 2015, her Master thesis on "Potenzieller Lebensraum des Goldschakals (Canis aureus) - Status, Habitatfaktoren und Modellierungsansatz" with an important review on recent European available literature regarding jackal species. This work included Geographic Information Systems models on jackal distribution according to few described ecological factors like wetland preferences and water stream proximity between others. After this extensive work, Jennifer started to evaluate systematically jackal density in few Austrian natural areas using Bio Acoustic Monitoring, the technique introduced in Europe by Environmental Ecologist, Mr Giorgos Giannatos in 2001. This technique is used now by several research groups accross Europe (Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Ukraine, Germany and Romania).
Together with Prof Dr Häcklender, Jennifer presented an actualized data with recent jackal sightings in Austria during the last conference meeting in Germany (here).

New data on golden jackal in Slovakia

On 24th-26th of November in Nitra, Slovakia, took place ZOOLOGIA 2016 congress and there were presented new interesting data on jackal numbers evolution in Slovakia during the last 2-3 decades. Despite the unclear and not explained methodology of recent estimations (alive population in 2015 was as being of 90 individuals according to guess and eye estimation of possible local rangers sightings or reports) data of this report show that jackals are having difficulties in establish survival populations in the region. The harvested last bag data reached 10 individuals (harvest data evolution in the last 20 years). For now, is not clear if in Slovakia the vagrant individuals could establish territorial groups or these reports are coming from accidental culling when hunting is performed to other game species. Nuno Guimarães, the main author of this communication, from Department of Biology and Ecology Matej Bel University started an intensive survey on jackal specific ecological systems and is planning to do BAM in key areas together with colleagues from GOJAGE Austria to find out if the existing few jackal individuals are able to survive in the complex and complete with congeneric species environment. ABSTRACT HERE.