From October 2020 to March 2021 the data collection of the first national monitoring of the Wolf (Canis lupus) coordinated by ISPRA took place in Italy, which involved a network of 3000 operators belonging to National and Regional Parks, Regions and Autonomous Provinces, universities, museums, national and local associations, as well as the Forestry, Environmental and Agri-food Unit Command (CUFAA) of the Carabinieri.
The purpose of the monitoring was to provide an estimate of the distribution and numerical consistency of the Wolf population in Italy. The monitoring was carried out using a 10 x 10 km grid of cells to divide the entire Italian territory. Of these, 1000 cells were selected by ISPRA experts and university researchers with the use of a probabilistic sampling design.
In this context, the Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park Authority (PNCVDA) has entrusted the company Kayla Nature with monitoring the Wolf within the borders of the National Park itself, and in particular those sixteen 10 x 10 km cells falling within the territory of the Park, among those selected by ISPRA at national level.
The monitoring was carried out by searching for signs of the presence of the species (scats, marking sites, footprints, tracks on snow, carcasses of predated animals and dead specimens) during the systematic study of transects (to which data collected in occasionally). In addition, the video-camera trapping technique was used to verify not only the presence of the species, but also the presence of anomalous flocks and phenotypes.
To coordinate the collection and processing of data were the staff of Kayla Nature and a Federparchi technician, on the basis of the ISPRA guidelines relating to national monitoring. Citizens of the Park territory, the forest police and veterinarians of the University of Naples Federico II (Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production) also contributed to the data collection.
The monitoring allowed the collection of a total of 381 Wolf presence data, mostly excrement (300) and sightings by video camera trapping (70). In particular, video camera trapping led to the identification of 2 pairs and 5 packs, for a total of at least 25 individuals registered. In general, the presence of the Wolf was ascertained in 100% of the cells investigated.
The national monitoring coordinated by ISPRA, the results of which have recently been disclosed, estimated for Italy a Wolf population equal to 3307 individuals (range 2945 – 3608 Wolves), which confirms the positive trend of the Wolf population in Italy, which has grown a lot in recent years.
In continuity with what was the national monitoring, the Transversal System Project called “WOLFNEXT” was born, carried out by 16 Italian National Parks, including the PNCVDA.
The Parks have set up a partnership aimed at planning, developing and coordinating a research and management activity, which makes it possible to concretely implement, shared and on a large scale, a monitoring-conservation-management system capable of ensure long-term conservation of the Wolf on the national territory and the prevention or containment of any conflicts that may arise in the various territories.
As part of WOLFNEXT, the PNCVDA has entrusted Kayla Nature srls with a new assignment relating to the implementation of some project actions.
Kayla Nature will therefore carry out a new Wolf monitoring within the PNCVDA, which will last for one year and this time will cover the entire territory of the Park, but will continue to be based, as regards data collection, on the ISPRA guidelines to ensure continuity and comparability of the data that will be collected.
In addition it will use the wolf howling technique to identify the core-areas of the packs and the possible reproduction areas of the species. Finally, video camera trapping will be used to estimate the reproductive success of the various packs and to better understand the use of the territory by packs and specimens in dispersion over the course of the various months of the year.
We hope that the results of this monitoring will lead to a good estimate of the distribution and numerical consistency of the Wolf population in the PNCVDA, and that this knowledge can contribute in a concrete way to the conservation of the Wolf in the Park.