Association for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development “Naša baština” , in cooperation with the partner organization Ornithological Society “Naše ptice” from Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized the second training out of four which are planned (two trainings dedicated to mammal monitoring and two bird monitoring), with focus on the monitoring of protected mammal species: “Strengthening the capacities for monitoring of protected / endangered mammal species”, which was held from 26th to 28th April 2021, in Tomislavgrad, within the nature park “Blidinje”.
The workshop was organized in the framework of the project “Bear in Mind – Bringing environmental actions for biodiversity protection across borders”, funded by the European Union under the IPA Cross-border Cooperation Program Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro 2014-2020, and which these organizations are implementing with partner from Montenegro, the Center for Protection and Research of Birds from Podgorica.
The workshop was dedicated to capacity building for monitoring of protected and endangered mammals’ species with the aim of supporting the improvement of specific skills of protected area officials, representatives of the NGO sector in the field of environmental protection, as well as representatives of state and local institutions working on biodiversity protection.
Like the previous workshops organized within the project “Bear in Mind”, this one had a theoretical and a practical part.
On the first day of the workshop, in the introductory part, Josipa Bagarić, project coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the project, after which the participants went to the field where Dr. Slaven Reljić from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, demonstrated setting traps for bears and wolves, measuring and sampling captured animals according to the prescribed form, marking the captured animal with a telemetry collar and monitoring using a VHF antenna, and at the end the participants had the opportunity to practice immobilization of the captured animal with a tranquilization gun (exercise on a cardboard model).
On the second day of the workshop, the participants headed to one of the feeding grounds in the Nature Park ‘Blidinje’, inside the Vran hunting ground. The group was led by prof. Reljić, and the participants were demonstrated the installation of photo traps, then they worked on finding traces of bears and wolves, and participants were instructed on how to properly mark, collect, store and finally record the traces found (eg. feces) for monitoring purposes. After arrival at the mentioned feeding ground, the participants found the skeleton of a freshly shot bear, a victim of poaching. Upon returning to the hotel, the participants were introduced to how to act legally in case of poaching and how such data are important for monitoring and how to record them.
The third day of the workshop was followed by a theoretical part. Igor Trbojević, professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of the University of Banja Luka and the Faculty of Ecology of the Independent University of Banja Luka, gave a lecture on the status and legislation of bears and wolves in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After him, the knowledge and experiences on bears and wolves monitoring in B&H shared Haris Hadžihajdarević from National Park “Una” d.o.o., who has been working on this issue since 2013. In the end, prof. dr. sc. Josip Kusak from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb and a member of Carnivora magna – Institute for Research, Conservation and Management of Large Carnivores., gave a presentation about the standards for monitoring large carnivores in Croatia In the end, prof. Reljić presented to the participants the Monitoring Protocols for bears and wolves for protected areas.
Parallel with the workshop, project team and employees of ŠGD Hercegbosanske šume (Šumarija Tomislavgrad) led by prof. Reljić and Natarsha Babić worked on catching one brown bear inside the Vran hunting ground, in Nature Park ‘Blidinje’. The bear named Vranac was captured on Friday 30.4.2021. and marked with a GPS transmitter, and its movement will be continuously monitored in order to obtain data that will be used to develop a Management plan for this species for the area of NP Sutjeska and NP Blidinje.
In the framework of the same project, it is planned to organize another workshop on the topic of mammals monitoring, which will be held in the National Park ‘Sutjeska’.