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Feature story

Famous lynx hunter change attitudes and start to participate on lynx research and monitoring

Overview

Mr. Ondrej Galko was a very effective lynx hunter for several years, and he knew very well about top localities of lynx. Large carnivore research team asked him to use his knowledges and to participate on field works. The hunter was honoured, that research community was interested in his experiences, and he started to cooperate in lynx monitoring. Now, more than 3 years research community used his local knowledges and experiences.


Story by

Ondrej Galko

Contact

Occupation

Fishing and Hunting

Location

Michalová, Muránska planina

Province

Banskobystrický, Slovakia


Chapter 1

Profile

Mr. Ondrej Galko was a very effective lynx hunter in 80´s and 90´s. He was an “old school” traditional trapper hunter, motivated by a desire for hunting experiences in the way of wildlife, which was used mainly in Russia and North America. Usually he went hunting on his horse in the accompaniment of hunting dog. This way of hunting demanded huge knowledge about the ecology as well as ethology of animals. He needs to know very well “personal” life of the animal and be able to read from animal’s tracks. He has also a very good knowledge about a territory, where he was hunting. All these skills can be gained, only if you spend in a forest huge amount of days. To spend a time in the forest, to hunt, sleep and eat in the forest, was the greatest time for him. Villagers remembers times, when he was walking through the country on his horse, with his big mutton cap decorated by a fox tale, having a hunted lynx over hanged on his horse. Perfect picture from the story of Jack London situated in a small village in the heart of Western Carpathians - in Slovakia.

Chapter 2

CHALLENGE

During the period of 80´s and 90´s, he hunted down 10 lynxes, and in another few cases he was working also as a hunting guide. In that time was the average annual harvest around 112 individuals/year. That number was too high and it reflects on population decrease.

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Chapter 3

Timeline

80s - 90s

During that period he was a famous hunter in his region

1999

he stopped to hunt the lynx because of a new law

since 2015

he cooperates with researchers and participated on lynx monitoring

Chapter 4

Solutions

Hunting of lynx is forbidden in Slovakia since 1999 (Ministry of Environment), respectively since (2001 (Ministry of Agriculture) because of high amount of hunted lynxes. After the whole year protection was established, also Mr. Galko finished his lynx focused hunting.

Chapter 5

TOOLS

Species monitoring

The Slovak research organization DIANA focused on large carnivore’s research, with main focus on monitoring and research of lynx, was collecting during the year 2015 data and information about large carnivores in Muránska planina mountain. Researches contacted Mr. Galko, if he will be willing to deal his knowledges about large carnivores in this area. After few meetings in his hunting room decorated by many trophies, researches asked him to guide them on sites where he hunted lynxes. He took researches to the top locality, where he hunted most lynxes. After 20 years, the key mark site of lynx on NP Muránska planina was identified at the same place.

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Piotr Chmielewski

25.08.2018

The number of wolves and lynx were assessed for whole forest complexes, not for particular administrative and economic units such as forest districts or hunting districts. Within the forest complexes, 70 inventory divisions were set up, including several forest districts and possibly a national park, separated from other parts of the complex by distinct natural or anthropogenic barriers, which could form the boundaries of the wolves and lynx territories. In each such area a coordinator was appointed, who directed the work of all units within its borders. Also in each superintendence and national park were people responsible for organization of counting and data collection. The inventory was based on two basic field activities: a year-long collection of all carnivores observations and coordinated winter traces. This was a non-binding measure implemented by Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences in the frame of National wolf and lynx inventory in forest superintendents and national parks in the whole country in the Instytut Biologii Ssaków Polskiej Akademii Nauk, ul. Stoczek 1, 17-230 Białowieża. It specifically involved Foresters, General public, Administrative staff (government). It operated for 12 years (from 2000 to 2012) and received partial financial support from Own funds, financial support of the.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Stefan Jakimiuk.

Piotr Chmielewski

25.08.2018

Main project actions: 1. Population monitoring and scientific research on carnivores. During the winter there was intense tracking of wolves and lynx, and bear traces were also recorded. In the spring and summer, carnivores were found on walking transect networks. Carnivores, as well as all other traces of their presence - faeces, urine marking and scratching, remnants of prey, lairs - were recorded in databases of the same structure as the database of nationwide wolf and lynx inventory. 2. Prevention of damage caused by large carnivores in breeding livestock. 3. Conservation of habitats for large carnivores. Identification of young breeding and breeding sites, as well as bears, has allowed the development of recommendations and actions to protect the habitats of large carnivores in the region. 4. Education of the society. The Association for Nature Wolf ran various forms of education devoted to large carnivores. Between 1996 and 2013 more than 80 lectures, lectures and trainings were held, attended by more than 3,000 adults,pupils, and children from kindergartens. The Association also organizes Wolf Workshops, which train volunteers to help in collecting data about wolves in the field. 5. Rehabilitation of animals and restoring them to the environment. During the project several wolves and lynx were found, which required direct help. 6. Protection of transboundary populations. The study of the wolves in the Beskid Żywiecki has shown how important they are to the conservation status of this predator in the Polish Natura 2000 sites Based on the results of the research, The Association for Nature Wolf lobbied for a cross-border approach to the protection of common populations of large carnivores. This was a non-binding measure implemented by The Association for Nature Wolf in the frame of The protection of large carnivores in the Western Carpathians in a province in the Stowarzyszenie dla Natury Wilk, Twardorzeczka, ul. Cynkowa 4, 34-324 Lipowa. It specifically involved Beekeepers, Livestock risers, Foresters, General public, Administrative staff (government). It operated for 20 years (from 1997 to 2017) and received partial financial support from Own funds, EuroNatur Foundation (Gerrmany), International Fund for Animal Welfare (USA), Wolves and Humans Foundation (Great Britain) and own funds of The Association for Nature Wolf..Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Stefan Jakimiuk.

Piotr Chmielewski

25.08.2018

Information on the conservation status of wolves and lynx in the country, including information on population status, habitat assessment, population perspectives and overall conservation status of these species. Information gained from the comparative analysis of the results of this project with the results of other projects on the use of the most up-to-date monitoring methods, including the introduction of wolf genetic testing methods, and the coherence of the results of monitoring carried out under the National Monitoring of Environment with monitoring results at the level of Natura 2000 sites in the framework of the implementation of the conservation plans and security plans nature conservation authorities. This was a non-binding measure implemented by Polish Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection in the frame of Pilotage monitoring of the populations of wolf and lynx in Poland in the whole country in the the whole country - pilot ongoing project. It specifically involved Hunters, Foresters, General public, Administrative staff (government). It operated in 2017 and received partial financial support from EU funds, Project co-financed by EU funds under the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Program 2014-2020, within the framework of the 2nd Axis of Environmental Priority, including adaptation to climate change. Action 2.4 Nature protection and ecological education, implemented in the Environmental Monitoring and Information Department of the General Inspectorate for Environmental Protection..Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Ing. Slavomir Findo CSc..

Stakeholder workshops

Meetings with researchers give a new impulse to his life connected with lynx. He was honoured, that research community was interested in his experiences and he started to cooperate in lynx monitoring. Now after 3 years he is a part of local research team and he is a volunteer member in monitoring activities in one of the lynx LIFE project. He continuously shares his valuable knowledges and experiences with researches and also gives them useful information from the hunting community. He also provides his lynx trophies for genetic analyses and for deterministic monitoring based on lynx coats patterns, what was very valuable for researchers.

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Beatrice Jouenne

25.08.2018

This project promotes the action of breeders, craftsmen, traders, living in ZPPs (biological corridors) where the wolf jostles the practices of breeding. It also values persons who accept the constraints of the cohabitation with a great predator by labeling their products which attest their environmental commitment. Ongoing project. A Master is currently supervised by Dr. LUDDENI Véronique. This project is also part of a joint project launched with the Albert 2 Foundation of Monaco. This was abinding measure implemented by SYNDICAT NATIONAL VETERINAIRE in the frame of Coexistence Label in a province in the Mercantour. It specifically involved Mayors, Farmers, Beekeepers, Livestock risers, Hunters, General public, Tourism operator, Trade unions. It operated during 2017 and operated without any external financial support.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Mélanie Pioli / Vanessa Madrières.

Beatrice Jouenne

25.08.2018

NGO working on nature protection/conservation In the continuity of the lynx reintroduction project in the Southern Vosges (1983 - 1993), the Lynx Vosges du Nord project has been working since 1994 for the rehabilitation, acceptance and reintroduction of lynx in the Pfälzerwald - Vosges biosphere reserve. Participation in the construction of transboundary projects IPL Pro lynx initiative since 1999. Luchs Forcing group and Luchs Pfälzerwald - EV Northern Vosges in 2010. Support to the SNU for the deposit of the Life + Luchs project. Co-animation of Franco-German working groups for the acceptance and reintroduction of the lynx. The Lynx « Vosges du Nord » project contributed to the establishment and the enhancement of transboundary cooperation for the lynx, in particular for the support and the deposit of the Life + Luchs project between 2010 and 2015. A priority axis of Lynx « Vosges du Nord » project is also the fight against poaching of the lynx. This was a non-binding measure implemented by Association SOS Faucon Pèlerin Lynx in the frame of « Lynx Vosges du Nord » in a transboundary region in the Transboundary biosphere reserve of the Northern Vosges-Pfälzerwald (France/Germany). It specifically involved Journalists, Livestock risers, Hunters, Foresters, Administrative staff (government). It operated for 20 years (from 1997 to 2017) and received partial financial support from Private donors.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Anne Goussot.

Beatrice Jouenne

25.08.2018

Shepherds. Protected areas managers (reserves, natural regional park, national park). This mission has been created by the Queyras regional natural Park when wolf came back on his territory. The aim was to create a climate of confidence between the institutions (the regional park, national institutions), the shepherds and livestock risers. At the beginning, this mission was formed by 4 people. today, only 2 people work more specifically on the support of pastoralism in presence of wolf: physical presence, psychological support, workshops with shepherds and livestock risers, wolf monitoring, sensitization campaigns for visitors… This was a non-binding measure implemented by Parc naturel régional du Queyras in the frame of Mediation and Environmental Watch Mission in municipality / municipalities in the Natural Regional Park of the Queyras. It specifically involved Livestock risers. It operated for 16 years (from 2001 to 2017) and received financial support from national public funds at first . regional public funds at the moment.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Jean-Claude GENOT.

Beatrice Jouenne

25.08.2018

NGO working on nature protection/conservation, recreation. Scientists. In the frame of a Life lynx program coordinated by the Foundation for nature and environment in Rhineland-Palatinate, we organized a lynx parliament which gathered together the different stakeholders, administrations, NGO, scientist and local authorities. The aim of that lynx parliament was to produce propositions which pawned each member of lynx parliament. This parliament was managed by professional mediator and after the first step to write the commitments we are going to work more with hunters and shepherds which are people the more involved into the lynx presence. Lynx is few present in Vosges du Nord and the Life lynx program (which should release 20 lynx between 2016 and 2020) could give the opportunity for a natural coming back in Vosges du Nord from Palatinate forest in a next future. This was abinding measure implemented by The Northern Vosges Regional Natural Park in the frame of Lynx parliament in a transboundary region in the The Northern Vosges Regional Natural Park (France). It specifically involved Mayors, Farmers, Livestock risers, Hunters, Foresters, Administrative staff (government). It operated for 1 years (from 2016 to 2017) and received financial support from EU funds, State (public funds).Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Karl-Heinz Klein, president, and Claude Kurtz, co-director.

Beatrice Jouenne

25.08.2018

www.luchs-projekt.org NGO working on nature protection/conservation. Following the formation of the Luchs forcing Group after the IPL (Initiative Pro Luchs) meeting in Fischbach on 21th April 2010, the same people created in August 2010 the association “Luchs Pfälzerwald Vosges du Nord ev.”. The aim of this nonprofit organisation is the establishment and the preservation of a lynx population in the transboundary biosphere reserve of the Northern Vosges-Pfälzerwald (France/Germany). With the support of the Nature and Environment Foundation of the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Ecology, Luchs Pfälzerwald Vosges du Nord ev. built and proposed a lynx reintroduction project in the Palatinate forest. The association signed a partnership with the LIFE + Luchs project (coordinated by the Nature Environment Foundation of Rhineland-Palatinate with the Sycoparc for France). Claude Kurtz email address: sosfauconpelerinlynx@gmail.com This was a non-binding measure implemented by Luchs Projekt Pfälzerwald Vosges du Nord ev in the frame of „Luchs Projekt Pfälzerwald Vosges du Nord ev“ in a transboundary region in the Transboundary biosphere reserve of the Northern Vosges-Pfälzerwald (France/Germany). It specifically involved Journalists, Livestock risers, Hunters, General public, Tourism operator, Administrative staff (government), Trade unions. It operated for 4 years (from 2011 to 2015) and received partial financial support from Own funds, Private donors, Other sources, Nature and Environment Foundation of the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Ecology.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Jochen Krebühl, Stiftung Natur und Umwelt Rheinland-Pfalz.

Mr. Galko changes his rifle and traps behind the camera and hunting experience changes on the “hunting” of lynx photography. We believe, that cooperation with him will continue also during the next years and he will participate on lynx monitoring and on protection of lynx in Slovakia.

Monitoring for Banskobystrický icon

 

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NGO Diana
Administration of NP Muránska planina
Faculty of Natural Sciences of Matej Bel Univerzity in Banská Bystrica.

Chapter 6

A special moment

One day, when he tracked a lynx, he found according to the tracks in the snow as the animal starts to hunt the deer. Suddenly the lynx jumped on the 200 kg male red deer. At first, it looks like that after running some distance; the lynx felt from the deer, because no lynx pawprint was visible any more. But after 300 meter hunter recognize a small paw print in the snow and then he found out that the lynx was still on deer and hung on him approximately 400-500 meters. After this distance the deer had given apparently a heart attack and fall dawn. Because Mr. Galko wanted to hunt this lynx, he dug near the carcass a jam in the snow a wait until the dark. In the night he found out that this super lynx is a mother with two youngsters. As the proper old school trapper’s hunters, he left her alive.

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Famous lynx hunter change attitudes and start to participate on lynx research and monitoring

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