Implementation of measures for the European souslik in South Moravia
Programme: Small grant scheme and rescue programmes for specially protected species II of programme CZ02.
Supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
This project also had financial support from EEA funds 2009-2014 and the Ministry of the Environment. Its content is exclusively the responsibility of ALKA Wildlife, o.p.s. and cannot in any way be regarded as the opinion of the donor or the Ministry of the Environment.
European sousliks used to be a common species in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 20th century, however, its abundance dropped sharply and eventually only occurring in 28 localities across the Czech Republic. Most of the identified populations were isolated, had very little abundance and were at risk of extinction. Therefore, in 2008, the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic adopted the ‚European Souslik Rescue Programme in the Czech Republic‘.
The aim of the project was to implement four key measures of this rescue programme, focussing in South Moravia: monitoring beyond the scope of regular annual monitoring, demographic study of selected population population, population viability analysis, public awareness.
South Moravia Region
The project focused on South Moravia for two reasons:
- South Moravia has so far received little attention under the recuse programme. As parts of the area are difficult to align within the framework and standard monitoring methodology, which is more suitable for clear areas such as airports, the monitoring conducted in this area is insufficient.
- Due to the nature of land use (functional agricultural landscape) and the distance to the main area of European sousliks (Slovakia, Austria and further south and east), thus the possibilities of creating a functional meta-population, the area of South Moravia is one of the most favourable areas for the souslik in the Czech Republic. In recent years, it now seems that this area could be absolutely crucial for maintaining their population in the Czech Republic.
1. Monitoring sousliks in South Moravia
Monitoring the occurrence of sousliks took place in the wine-growing regions of the Kyjovské hills. In the spring and summer months, our team mapped pre-selected areas consisting of vineyards, gardens and orchards, in the immediate vicinity of well-known populations, as well as in locations where there had been no recent record. Our team looked for both active individuals in the areas but also proof of inhabitation such as burrows or droppings. Information from local residents and landowners was also gained during the surveys.
2. Demographic study
A well established colony of sousliks was also monitoring for the duration of this project. The population at the grassy airport in Miroslav was monitored to determine population status, population health and monitor dispersal of individuals including juveniles. Little is known regarding distances travelled and which different environments they will move into yet this is an essential information for linking existing, isolated populations.
3. Population viability analysis (PVA)
In recent years, a method called population viability analysis (PVA) has become one of the basic tools for setting appropriate species conservation measures. This method can be used to answer several basic questions about population ecology and conservation needs of a given species. It achieves this through:
- Identifying missing data and directing future research in the needed direction
- Identifying the most vulnerable individuals in the population
- Assessing population status and
- Estimating a populations evolution by calculating the probability of extinction using existing conditions and simulating changes in external conditions via scenario modeling using various simulations of management measures, comparing their effectiveness.
4. Public awareness
We aimed to increase the public awareness about sousliks and their importance in the Czech Republic. By reaching out to vineyard, orchard and other land owners in South Moravia we advised the best practices in cultivation to create a more suitable environment sousliks and other species - encouraging a rich, species diverse environment.
Trademark - _Sysli na vinici _
Our trademark, supporting winemakers with sousliks on their land, was further supported within this project. Further information can be found here.
Website - syslinavinici.cz
This website was further supported within this project.