Workshops

Session 1

Risk management and mitigation around the human-wolf co-existence, case studies and examples​

Hosted By: Madeleine Nyman - Natural Resource Institute of Finland

Background: Wolves have often been at the center of human-wildlife conflicts as the wolves cause concern, worry and fear, displeasure and occasionally damages to livestock and pets. Reaching and maintaining a vital wolf population is a challenge if people feel that they cannot coexist with wolves. As the range of the wolf populations has expanded further into human- dominated landscapes on some European countries and the US after an absence of 100 years, the dispute and conflict has increased, and the management has not been successful resulting in even a decreasing wolf population mostly due to illegal killings of wolves. Today, wolf management is often politically polarized and contentious: Variations in attitudes and values, political objectives, communication strategies, and the knowledge base on the wolf itself among the citizens pose challenges to the authorities in charge of the wolf management. The mitigation of this human – wildlife conflict has been approached through management interventions, awareness raising campaigns and stakeholder integration in many countries. However, focus has often been on spreading information on the wolf and the wolf population or mitigating damages, but not so much focusing on the strong socioeconomic human-human conflict and managing the risks of this conflict A successful wolf management builds on a stable platform where the needs of all levels of authorities, stakeholders and citizens are being included and considered. Wolf management is about more than the apparent wolf-human interaction, as it involves many stakeholders and is dependent on the ecological, political and socioeconomic environment, and we need tools to manage and mitigate the risks involved. 

Aim: The purpose of the workshop is to facilitate an open and trustful conversation and knowledge exchange between researchers, managers, stakeholders and NGO’s on risk management and resolution around the human – wolf co-existence. We focus on phenomena and trends in the society that may affect the wolf management, and present examples of mitigation measures in case studies. 

Programme: The workshop will consist of three entities: 1) home task prior to the conference, 2) short presentation of a case study and group discussions on possible mitigation measures and approaches, and 3) evaluation report of the workshop and a possibility to produce a concrete action plan for the mitigation measure chosen for each case after the workshop.

Challenging positions and perception in wolf conflicts

Hosted By: Hans Peter Hansen - Aarhus University, Denmark

After centuries of absence, the grey wolf (Canis lupus) has again become a natural inhabitant of many western landscapes. From a biological perspective the return of wolves has been successful but with wolves severe tensions and conflicts between humans, on wolves and wolf management, has followed. The main drivers of these conflicts are competition between wolves and humans about resources, fear and anxiety, and revoked myths and narratives about wolves and their introduction to the landscape. In many countries we have seen an escalation of the conflict level, leading to illegal killings of wolves, threats and violence, as well as political populism. This to the extent that a well-functioning management has become difficult and in some cases impossible. Due to the high conflict level many wildlife researchers, wildlife managers, and governmental agencies, have entered a state of despair not being able to identify any viable way forward.

 

Together we will explore how our own perceptions, as wildlife researchers, wildlife managers or representatives of NGO, on conflicts related to wolves, shape our ability to imagine and test possible solutions to conflicts. We will apply and facilitate a future oriented workshop methodology, and document the results for a possible common paper in a scientific outlet.

Overshadowed by large cats: wolves in the Asian highlands

Hosted By: Mohammad Farhadina - University of Oxford, UK

Rationale and objectives for the proposed meeting: In west and central Asian highlands, wolf management and conservation is generally overshadowed by more charismatic larger cats, such as Persian leopards, snow leopards and tigers, which are considered to need more protection. Consequently, conservation resources and mitigation efforts in different landscapes are usually channeled into cat conservation, rather than addressing the entire guild of large carnivores. 

Changepoint analysis and animation of movement data in R

Hosted By: Erik Versluijs - Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway

Recent advances in GPS and battery technology enable studies on fine-scale movement of radio-tagged individuals. During bursts of intensive positioning, researchers can study behavioural responses of individuals to e.g. external stimuli, such as human disturbance. In this workshop, Erik Versluijs will give an introduction to the application of changepoint analysis in R to identify changes between different behavioural states, such as resting and flight. He will also show how movement of e.g. wolves and humans can be visualized as animated paths in R. Animation is useful to explore movement and interactions, and helps to communicate research results. The workshop will be hands-on, so bring along your labtop, preferably with R installed.

We have a dream: Researchers without borders - The wolf diet database

Hosted By: Andrea Gazzola - Association for the Biological Diversity Conservation, Romania

Recent advances in GPS and battery technology enable studies on fine-scale movement of radio-tagged individuals. During bursts of intensive positioning, researchers can study behavioural responses of individuals to e.g. external stimuli, such as human disturbance. In this workshop, Erik Versluijs will give an introduction to the application of changepoint analysis in R to identify changes between different behavioural states, such as resting and flight. He will also show how movement of e.g. wolves and humans can be visualized as animated paths in R. Animation is useful to explore movement and interactions, and helps to communicate research results. The workshop will be hands-on, so bring along your labtop, preferably with R installed.

Session 2

Towards an effective and socially just governance of human-wolf interactions in Europe

Hosted By: Valerio Donfrancesco - University of Cambridge, UK

Human-wolf interactions are becoming increasingly common across Europe and can assume various forms, depending on the values and interests of those involved. When not addressed adequately, these interactions can lead to tensions among interest groups, and can escalate into entrenched social conflicts. In the past few decades, there has been an increasing recognition of the role that social and political contexts play in the production of human-wolf interactions. When conflicts are not mitigated, they may result in a management impasse, whereby policies are disconnected from the social context they are meant to address and fail to integrate the variety and multiplicity of stakeholder interests. Increasingly, attention has shifted towards the application of participatory forms of governance, whereby local actors have a greater voice in management decisions. These contrast with top-down forms of governance whereby decisions are taken at the national and supranational level. Collaborative governance is generally sought because it can improve relations between stakeholders by redressing power imbalances, acknowledging different values and perspectives, and enhancing trust relations overall. This can increase tolerance towards wolves as well as promote a greater sense of justice.

 

Three major challenges can be seen to hinder the implementation of participatory governance: (i) the lack of acknowledgment and integration of different forms of knowledge in decision-making; (ii) the ineffective redistribution of power despite attempts at decentralization; and (iii) uncertainties regarding the implementation of bottom-up governance, specifically related to how participation can be enhanced at the local level whilst still meeting conservation targets at national and transboundary levels. The present workshop will focus on these issues, exploring ways to overcome them through brainstorming, knowledge-sharing and open deliberation between experts with experience from different countries and insights about different forms of governance. Activities will involve: (i) an opening presentation by the key panelists; (ii) an open/guided discussion on the main themes among the panelists and selected attendees (spectators are welcome); and (iii) an elaboration of a list of research needs. The production of a scientific manuscript from the workshop activities will also be considered.

The role of poaching in wolf research and management

Hosted By: Olof Liberg - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

Illegal killing of wildlife, also termed poaching, is a common and global problem. Although most acute in species poached for monetary gain, often related to large scale illicit trade, poaching is also a significant problem for the conservation of large carnivores that threaten and compete with human interests. Grey wolves (Canis lupus) have limited commercial value but are probably the most controversial and conflict-prone carnivore species on Earth. Poaching of wolves appears to be prevalent wherever wolves and humans coexist. The idea that legal harvest or culling might increase tolerance of wolves, and even reduce poaching, has been raised and put in practice, but also questioned.


In some areas of the world, illegal killing of large carnivores seems to be largely a rural protest against conservationist restrictions, which are perceived as threats against the residents' traditional rights and the quality of life in the countryside. This view has been extensively supported and discussed in a large and fast-growing body of social science literature. It has even been suggested that a remedy against poaching of wolves could be to increase legal culling and turn them into a “valued quarry in traditional hunting”.
 

One important factor that may obstruct a better understanding of the relationship between legal culling and poaching is the difficulty of quantifying poaching. Poaching is a criminal act and the offenders are therefore expected to conceal the offences. The term “cryptic poaching” has been used to define the hidden proportion of poaching that is not discovered or reported. 
 

In this workshop, we will focus on reasons for and effects of poaching on wolves, and discuss how important and general this factor may be in limiting wolf population growth. We here define  poaching as any type of illegal killing of wolves, irrespective of method. In particular, we want researchers to critically re-evaluate their own data and experiences on wolf mortality patterns so as to give an updated view over the importance of poaching, how this can better be estimated by researchers, and what management actions may possibly be used to reduce this in the future.

Wolves Across Borders conference continuation; Future interest, partners, and planning

Hosted By: Aimee Tallian, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Norway

This workshop will bring together people who are interested to see this conference, and initiatives surrounding the conference, continue. Should we plan to put on this conference again elsewhere in Europe? How can we work with the International Wolf Center in the US to continue to make the conferences cooperative and synergistic? Are we interested in creating an NGO to house this initiative, as well as potentially others, such as the creation of a journal? Join in and get involved in the conversation and future.

Estimating wolf occupancy with R

Hosted By: Olivier Gimenez - National Centre for Scientific Research, France

In this workshop, we will show how to infer occupancy while accounting for imperfect detection. Using a real case study on wolves (Canis lupus)  that have been recolonizing France since the early 1990s, we will show how to estimate the proportion of area occupied by the species. We will also show how to asses the dynamic of occupancy by estimating colonization and extinction processes. If time allows, we will also cover recent models that allow accounting for false positives due to species misidentification as well as species interactions. The workshop will be a combination of lecture and live coding demonstrations in R (using package unmarked).

What can Passive Acoustic Recorders Do For You? Using Sound to Study Wolves

Hosted By: Paul Howden-Leach - Wildlife Acoustics Inc., UK

This workshop will explore how bioacoustics can be used as a non-invasive survey and research tool to identify wolf vocalisations, and how Kaleidoscope Pro (Wildlife Acoustics’ sound analysis software) can be used to extract those signals from hours and hours of audio recordings. Kaleidoscope Pro includes a cluster analysis feature that extracts audible signals of interest from larger files, and then sorts those signals by similarity. Cluster analysis is a powerful tool for species survey and presence/absence determination. Cluster analysis is also the first step towards building simple and advanced classifiers to allow specific data to be extracted from hours of recordings. Attendees will get a chance to look at and handle different pieces of recording equipment and look at different deployment methods. In addition, a temporary Kaleidoscope Pro license will be provided to attendees, along with example recordings so you can “play along” with the software element of the workshop. We will discuss the theory of how cluster analysis works, including tuning parameters specifically for wolf research, and then we’ll put it into practice with actual audio files.