About the Wolf Tracking Project
Track Wolves and Lynx in the beautiful Tatra mountains in Slovakia. Learn about the art of tracking, reading signs in nature and also about the plight of the mythic wolf. A rare opportunity to spend time in deep wilderness with expert trackers, wolf and lynx researchers & wildlife photographers in the midst of winter, when the wilderness is white and the tracks are clear.
We are now approaching the ten year anniversary of the launch of this ground-breaking project, which was featured among National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s “25 Best New Trips for 2010”.
What is the work and why is it needed?
While some environmentalists claim that the annual winter hunting season leaves less than 150 wolves in Slovakia, official game statistics list more than 2,000: a huge difference! And it’s a similar situation with lynx. Are predators being hunted towards extinction, as the environmentalists say, or becoming too numerous, as hunters claim? The dispute shows the clear need for reliable, objective methods to estimate numbers of predators.
The White Wilderness project brings together international volunteers and local people, nature conservationists, foresters, landowners and hunters. Under the close supervision of experienced project staff, volunteers track wolves and lynx and collect samples for DNA analysis, which will allow us to determine the minimum number of animals in the area as well as to detect changes which could require urgent intervention.
Volunteer study area
Lying between the Tatra National Park to the north and the Low Tatras National Park to the south, the spectacular region of Liptov is a real treat for lovers of nature and the outdoors. Around 50% is covered by forests, which reach up to 1500 m (5000 feet) above sea level. Beyond that is a zone of dwarf pine and higher still are alpine meadows. In the winter, much of the wildlife, including carnivores and their prey, move to the foothills and valleys to avoid the deepest snow, and it is here that most of our fieldwork will be focussed.
“Greater understanding of the beneficial effects of wolves in ecosystems has led to substantial progress in conservation. However, in several countries, wolf hunting is still legal. In Slovakia, hunters have been allowed to kill up to 150 wolves each year. The impact this has on the population is largely unknown because of insufficient research and monitoring. The Carpathian Wolf Watch project is working to change this, and you can help!” – Quote from Project Manager