A workshop dedicated to strengthening the capacities for monitoring of endangered/protected mammal species was organized within the National Park ”Sutjeska” from 24-26.11.2021.
The workshop was organized by the Ornithological Society “Naše ptice” from Sarajevo and was the last of eight planned to be implemented in the framework of the project “Bear in Mind”.
The aim of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity and support the improvement of specific skills of protected area officials, representatives of the non-governmental sector in the field of environmental protection, as well as representatives of state and local institutions working to protect biodiversity in the project area.
The role of the lecturer belonged to Dr. Sc. Slaven Reljić from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, with 11 years of experience in working with large carnivores.
The workshop began with a presentation of the implemented activities and achieved results of the Bear in Mind project so far by Josipa Bagarić from the Ornithological Society “Naše ptice”. This was followed by a lecture by Slaven Reljić on recognizing and recording the signs of bears and wolves for monitoring purposes. Mr. Igor Trbojević, from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Banja Luka and the Faculty of Ecology of the Independent University of Banja Luka, then gave a detailed presentation on the status of large carnivores in legal regulations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After this lecture, we moved on to the practical part, where the participants were shown setting traps for capturing bears for the purpose of telemetry studies.
The second day of the workshop was dedicated to field researches in order to find signs of the presence of large carnivores (bears and wolves) and to mark and preserve them. Two wildlife feeding grounds within the park were visited, and participants also had the opportunity to observe the herd of chamois. The immobilization of the captured animal with a blower was demonstrated (exercise on a cardboard model), the method of measuring the animal, sampling according to the prescribed pattern and marking the captured individual with a telemetry collar and its monitoring were described. At the end of the day, the installation of a wolf trap was demonstrated.
Due to bad weather, the last day of the workshop was dedicated to lectures. Slaven Reljić gave a lecture on estimating the number of wolf populations in the Republic of Croatia based on the analysis of signs of the presence and in the Republic of Slovenia based on genetic analyzes. After him, Aleksandra Anja Dragomirović, from the Center for Environment, Banja Luka, had a presentation about estimating the number of bear populations in Bosnia and Herzegovina based on genetic analysis from collected samples and establishing an Intervention Team for large carnivores in Republika Srpska. Mr. Reljić then gave a lecture on catching and telemetry tracking of bears within the Bear in Mind project, as well as on researching and monitoring large carnivores in the National Park ” Una”, and on that occasion a tv report on Goranka, the bear captured and equipped with GPS collar in Montenegro, which was made by journalist Nemanja Živaljević, was shown to the participants. At the end of the workshop, the experiences of the Intervention Team of the Republic of Croatia in working with large carnivores were shared with the participants in order to encourage the establishment of such a team in the Federation of BiH.
This workshop completed a cycle of a total of 8 planned workshops, dedicated to capacity building for monitoring of protected/endangered bird and mammal species, held in cross-border protected areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro: National Park ”Sutjeska” and Nature Park ”Blidinje” in Bosnia and Herzegovina and National Park ”Durmitor” and Nature Park ”Piva” in Montenegro.