Monitoring can be defined as tracking, or collecting data based on residence characters. The most common findings indicating the presence of the wolf include scat, urine, trail tracks, prey and photos from camera traps. Less frequent are observations, drowning, or finding a dead individual. A very valuable source of information is telemetry.
We use the SCALP (Status and Conservation of the Alpine Lynx Population) methodology to evaluate findings and data. It was originally created for tracking the lynx in the Alps. Later it was modified and is currently used for monitoring of all three large carnivores in Germany (bear, lynx, wolf). To record individual findings, we use protocols describing the place, time and nature of the finding. Within the project, we write the data into protocols that have the same structure as those used in Germany. Data processed and evaluated in the same way enables data transfer between Czech and German experts.
SCALP divides the data into three categories:
- C1 clear evidence - a category that clearly confirms the presence of a wolf in a given territory. Such evidence includes: capture, finding a dead individual, genetic evidence, evidence from a camera trap, telemetry data.
- C2 confirmed observations - this group includes all findings that meet the conditions for inclusion in this category. Data belonging to Group C2 should be evaluated by a trained person. In case of ambiguities, it is necessary to consult with experts. From fresh findings (scat, urine, blood, saliva, coat) samples are taken for DNA analysis, which clearly determines the species.
- C3 unconfirmed observation - this group includes all observations or information coming from people who have no experience of large-scale monitoring, or information that can not be confirmed in the field. This category also includes findings that do not qualify for C2. This category can be divided into two other subgroups, namely probable and unlikely observations.
Map of wolf distribution in the project area in the 2017/2018 season based on the findings of category C1 of the SCALP methodology