One of the biggest problems we are fighting is the mass scale electric fencing that is fragmenting the once open landscape. These fences go on for kilometres and fence in parcels as big as 500ha for intensive cattle breeding. For the large carnivores that still exist here, such as brown bear, wolf and lynx, this is a major interference to their free movement.
To better understand how these animals are reacting to these new obstacles, the Chantecaille Conservation Foundation have funded the purchase of camera traps which are setup around some of the fences. A camera trap is a remote device used to detect animals which pass in front of it, using motion and infrared sensors. It then takes pictures or records that animal, like having an eye out in the wild.
Autumn here is a good season to start camera trapping. Vegetation is low, animals have finished breeding and are moving larger distances to feed ready for winter. From all these animals being diverted from their usual routes, you now see well worn tracks running along the fences.
The fences funnel large carnivores closer to human settlements and agricultural land around the village. This increases human conflict. For example, bee hives are lost to bears, boars raid maize crops and wolves come into closer contact with livestock. As a response, even local small-scale farmers are fencing their parcels of land. This creates a vicious cycle of increasing conflict, fragmentation and loss of habitat.
This work aims to support the designation of ecological corridors in this region. Areas where the free movement of large carnivores is priority and large scale fencing is not permitted.