published on 7 March 2019 in life

2018 Large Carnivores Report published

Large carnivores represent a fundamental link in the food chain and a key species for the stability of ecosystems. Their state of health may determine knock-on effects that influence animals and vegetation of the whole ecosystem to which they belong. Given the importance of these animals, the Forests and Fauna Service of the Autonomous Province of Trento has published the 2018 Large Carnivores report, precisely to provide an updated and detailed picture of the state of health of the brown bear, wolf and lynx populations present in the province of Trento and adjacent regions. The report, written with the contribution of the Museum of Science of Trento (MUSE), the Paneveggio Pale di San Martino nature park (PN PPSM), the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) and the Edmund Mach Foundation (FEM), above all reveals that there is no predator emergency. In Italy, unlike other areas where numbers of large predators are declining, these animals are going back to occupy their former territories, thanks to protection and conservation actions. The report also analyses the actual damage caused by these animals, with the aim of favouring coexistence between humans and predators: in the past year the damage caused by bears, wolves and lynxes was limited, thanks to effective preventive action carried out by the province.

For 2018, estimates of the bear population in the province were based, in contrast to past years, solely on data collected by opportunistic monitoring, that is collection of organic samples found in the territory. Using the data collected, the population has been estimated as between 60 and 78 individuals. In 2018, 21-23 cubs were born, while the death of only one individual was recorded.

With regard to wolves, the monitoring operations conducted in 2018 revealed the presence of seven family groups and other individuals, perhaps dispersing. Wolves came back naturally to populate the province of Trento as from 2010, after disappearing around the mid-19th century. The data and information on wolves and on their interaction with the human species are particularly important because, in Italy, these animals are still subject to popular beliefs that threaten their very survival. From the monitoring activity described in the report, to date no cases of prey upon livestock have been found.

Lastly, data related to theĀ  is given. Monitoring of lynxes is particularly complex since they live perfectly camouflaged in woods, hunting at dusk and at night and painstakingly avoiding all contact with humans. Only one individual, a male known as B132, lives in the province of Trento, where it settled in 2008.

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