Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Estimating hare population using thermo vision equipment in an intensive agricultural land (#425)

Mihai Fedorca 1 , Cezar Spataru 1 , Georgeta Ionescu 1 , Ovidiu Ionescu 1 , Ancuta Fedorca 1
  1. National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry “Marin Dracea”; Transilvania University, Faculty of Silviculture and Forest Engineering, Brasov, Romania

Hare is a common species in Romania and inhabits most of the country, from high to very low altitude. In the last 20 years, the hare population has been dramatically decreased, particularly in the areas were intensive agriculture is practiced. Moreover in some of the cases, legal aspects regarding small game species protection (preserving some undisturbed areas for ensuring shelter) are not respected. The evaluation method, currently implemented across the country for hare, is invasive and takes place in early spring, when beaters move across the entire hunting unit trying to scare individuals, so they will run, to count them. Thus, the actual method is based on reproduction stocks from the spring, using growth indices, not taking into consideration the natural fluctuation of environment parameters. Starting with 2014, a new method based on using thermo-vision equipment for detecting hare was used for two pilot areas (12 hunting units ~ 100000 ha), in different seasons for assessing both reproductive stock as well as offspring numbers. Our results differ significantly from those obtained with the classical method. In some hunting units the estimation on the population was much lower, especially in those areas were agriculture is intensive and most of the refugees are lost due to that. This method is very easy to use, needs only a small number of people, the animals are not disturbed at all, and the results are much more accurate.