SCIENCE-BASED CONSERVATION FOR TROUBLING SPECIES: INSIGHTS FROM WOLVES IN PORTUGAL

with Francisco Álvares (CONGEN, CIBIO-InBIO) | February 15, 2019 - 16h00 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão

 

Large carnivores are a focal species for biodiversity conservation, despite major challenges due to their predatory behaviour and negative perceptions from humans. In this context, mitigating conflicts and promoting coexistence have become the cornerstones of large carnivore conservation in modern times. This is particularly relevant for wolves living in human-dominated landscapes, where more than any environmental or ecological factor, humans have a key role in wolf distribution, ecology and behavior. Consequently, a comprehensive knowledge of the different human and wolf factors that make coexistence possible is required and becomes pivotal for delineating effective conservation measures. Based in long-term monitoring of two wolf populations in Portugal (Alto Minho and South Douro) occurring in different ecological settings, we are conducting applied research to understand the dynamics and requirements of small wolf populations while also promoting collaborative networks to assure coexistence with human activities. In this seminar, we share some of our findings in relation to three main issues for wolf conservation:
i) Population monitoring by focusing population dynamics in two areas with different wolf densities, along a 20-year period.
ii) Habitat by focusing behavioral responses to human activities, such as wind farms, and spatial requirements at several levels, particularly related to breeding sites.
iii) Prey by focusing regional and temporal shifts in wolf diet as well as factors that influence livestock depredation.
Our results have been used in effective prescriptions regarding the sustainable development of anthropogenic activities, mainly related to infrastructure development and livestock husbandry. Following an evidence-based conservation approach, we promote knowledge-transfer among public institutions (e.g. ICNF, DGAV), private companies (e.g. wind farm promoters) and other decision-makers or stakeholders related to wolf conservation (e.g. municipalities), aiming to define best-practice guidelines and zoning of human activities as a mean to mitigate impacts and conflicts.

 

Francisco Álvares is a postdoctoral researcher at CIBIO-InBIO. During the last twenty years his main research interests have been focused on applied ecology to support conservation actions for large carnivores in human-dominated landscapes, using the wolf in the Iberian Peninsula as a model species. He also has been involved in several advisory, educational and awareness activities related to the research and conservation of Iberian wolves. He is member of the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe, an IUCN Specialist Group (http://www.lcie.org/) and IWRT, Iberian Wolf Research Team (http://iwrt.info/ ).

 

 

[Host: Paulo Célio alves]