Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Game species in urban environment, on roads and in other non-hunting areas: problems, challenges and solutions

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.01.01  Biotechnical sciences  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Forest - forestry 

Code Science Field
B003  Biomedical sciences  Ecology 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Urban wildlife, urban environment, non-hunting areas, conflicts, roe deer, wild boar, red fox, stone marten, badger, coypu, trap, protocol
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (13)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  32682  PhD Katja Adam  Biology  Researcher  2018  105 
2.  24375  PhD Elena Bužan  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2020  366 
3.  35362  PhD Katarina Flajšman  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2018 - 2020  186 
4.  39097  Jernej Javornik  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Junior researcher  2018 - 2020  44 
5.  22515  PhD Klemen Jerina  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2018 - 2020  449 
6.  17424  Franc Kljun    Technical associate  2018 - 2020  55 
7.  06960  PhD Ivan Kos  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2020  562 
8.  11595  PhD Tomislav Levanič  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2018 - 2020  614 
9.  27528  PhD Martina Lužnik  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2020  80 
10.  18112  PhD Boštjan Pokorny  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Head  2018 - 2020  887 
11.  18628  PhD Hubert Potočnik  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2020  286 
12.  13962  PhD Andrej Šorgo  Educational studies  Researcher  2018 - 2020  765 
13.  18465  PhD Natalija Špeh  Geography  Researcher  2018 - 2020  209 
Organisations (5)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0404  Slovenian Forestry Institute  Ljubljana  5051673000  11,992 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,255 
3.  2547  University of Maribor, Faculty of natural sciences and mathematics  Maribor  5089638051  18,013 
4.  2790  University of Primorska, Faculty of mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies  Koper  1810014009  17,665 
5.  2872  Faculty of Environmental Protection   Velenje  2257092  3,426 
Intensive process of urbanization, such as spatial spreading of settlements, expansion of industrial areas, roads and other infrastructure, has resulted in the increase of the urban and semi-urban landscapes and has caused the reduction and fragmentation of traditional habitats of wildlife. Due to natural succession such as spontaneous reforestation of former agricultural areas, the contact zone between urban areas and natural habitats (i.e. wildland-urbane interface) has been expanding. Consequently, many animal species (including game species) yet inhabit human settlements and other anthropogenic disturbed habitats. Therefore, the interactions between wildlife and humans have been becoming more frequent which results in many conflict situations. Game management (i.e. hunting) in urban environment and in other non-hunting areas is very difficult or in some instances even impossible, either due to several legal restrictions or due to expected negative responses of the public. Therefore, it is crucial to study game species in the urban environment, but also to understand possibilities of wildlife management in settlements and in other non-hunting areas, which conflicts can be caused by urban wildlife, and how to find the best solutions to limit those conflicts. Indeed, game species are owned by the state therefore it is the state’s responsibility to act in case of conflicts and to compensate for damages in non-hunting areas. Nevertheless, any legal protocols or instructions how to act in the case of the appearance of game species in settlements, on the roads and in other non-hunting areas, where wildlife might in specific situations represent risk for people and their property, are completely missing at the moment. In the proposed project, those game species that most frequently appear in settlements and in other non-hunting areas and which may cause conflicts with inhabitants will be emphasised. These species are as follows: (i) wild ungulates: wild boar (Sus scrofa) and European roe deer (Capreouls capreolus), but also red deer (Cervus elaphus) and fallow deer (Dama dama); (ii) small carnivores: red fox (Vulpes vulpes), badger (Meles meles), and stone marten (Martes foina); (iii) native species of rodents and lagomorphs: edible dormouse (Glis glis) and brown hare (Lepus europeus); (iv) invasive alien species: coypu (Myocastor coypus). The challenges and solutions, which will be met and suggested in the project, are as follows: (a) Improvement of the road-safety (reducing the risk for traffic collisions with ungulates on non-fenced roads, limiting the access of ungulates to highways, preparation of the protocol for acting in the case of the appearance of ungulates inside the highway corridors). (b) Reducing of other damages in non-hunting areas. (c) Obtaining knowledge on biological and ecological characteristics (e.g. spatial behaviour, reproductive potential, diet) of selected game species in urban areas in comparison with non-urban habitats. (d) Providing suitable social environment for and testing management possibilities to remove coypu as invasive alien species from the environment. For all target species, we will prepare protocols for management in the case of their expansion or more frequent occurrence in settlements and in other non-hunting areas, which may cause larger conflicts or damages (e.g. establishing intervention groups, possibilities to use the most suitable techniques for catching and translocation animals from the urban environment). For the hunted/eliminated individuals, we will also make molecular-genetic analysis, which will enable determination of the meta-population structure of urban populations and their contact zones with populations from the natural (non-urban) environments. Main aims of the project are as follow (work packages were formed in accordance with these aims): (1) Identification of the real and recognized problems, caused by game species in non-hunting areas in Slovenia, i
Significance for science
A rapid increase of the presence and abundance of wildlife/game species in urban environment is a recent phenomenon: wildlife species have emerged in urban environment in a large numbers recently, i.e. in the last decades. Therefore, there is a lack of knowledge on the biology of species in urban areas, their ecosystem roles and impacts, interspecific interactions, population dynamics, and their ability to spread and cross into non-urban habitats where they can interact with non-urban populations. Moreover, there is a lack of wider social discussion or consensus about the expected objectives concerning the wildlife in urban areas, which hampers population management. There is also no available information about reasons for increasing population dynamics of different game species in the urban environment, and on consequences of conflicts with humans. Therefore, mitigation of problems connected with the presence of wildlife in the urban environment is currently more or less intuitive, and is not supported by appropriate scientific knowledge. Last but not the least, there is a lack of knowledge on suitability and effectiveness of mitigation measures that can reduce the number of conflicting events, as well as on the appropriate measures that could (in the case of need) reduce the abundance of some wildlife species in the urban environment. Up to date, there has been no scientific study on urban wildlife in our country therefore the implementation of the project will provide new knowledge on urban wildlife in Slovenia but also in a broader European scale. New findings will be especially important for the end-users and the development of the profession (see chapter 21.3 for details) as well as for the science. We are expecting obtaining new scientific findings in the following research fields: biological characteristics (e.g. nutrition, reproductive potential, spatial behaviour) of selected wildlife species in the urban environment; genetic structure of (urban) populations; the attitude of humans to the appearance of different wildlife species in the urban environment, and the social acceptability of the various management measures; the efficiency and suitability of different methods for translocation of wildlife species from the urban environment; influential factors affecting the risk for ungulates-vehicle collisions, and the effectiveness of different mitigation measures to reduce the number of collisions and to prevent the wildlife entering the highways; possibilities and perspectives of using modern analytical techniques (e.g. determination of stable isotopic ratio, molecular-genetic analysis) for understanding the biological characteristics of species. The scientific findings from the mentioned topics will be presented in at least seven original scientific papers. We expect high international impact of these publications, i.e. high citation rates, as the topic of urban wildlife per se is currently very important worldwide. High reliability of gaining new knowledge and scientific findings as well as development of the management strategies is supported by the following facts: (i) Good and already established cooperation of the members of the project team with the key end-users (e.g. responsible ministry for game management, population managers, transport infrastructure managers, hunters), which guarantees the feasibility of the project implementation, and the transfer/implementation of the project results into everyday practice, i.e. in the management of wildlife populations. (ii) Implementation of some contemporary research methods (e.g. genetic analyses, determination of feeding characteristics by analysing stable isotopes, determination of the reproductive potential by analysing uteri of different species), that have been rarely or even never used before in the case of urban wildlife in the Central Europe. (iii) Integrative and interdisciplinary approach by cooperation among researchers from five Slovene research instit
Significance for the country
Realisation of the project is important for a broader society particularly because it creates preconditions for coexistence of humans and wildlife in urban environment, and consequently protecting the natural heritage in such environments. For the conservation of the biodiversity (as one of the most important issues relating to conservation of the natural heritage), it is important to have professional, science-based management of wildlife populations. Such management must be based on the knowledge of the biological characteristics, i.e. different life-history traits of selected species, their roles in the ecosystem and interactions with other species, including humans. Due to gathering of many yet missing data on wildlife (game species) in urban environment and their impact the project realisation would significantly contribute to the protection of biodiversity in urban areas. Totally new and from Slovenian environment originated knowledge and data would enable adopting of suitable management decisions, including those for reducing number and extend of conflicts, which are expected to increase in the future by increasing the contact cones between settlements and natural habitats (wildland-urban interface), and consequently by higher abundance of wildlife in urban areas. Due to the expected outcomes the realisation of a very this project is of a high interest of the Republic of Slovenia as a game owner, but also for the responsible authorities in game-management planning (Slovenia Forest Service), population managers (hunters and hunting organisations at all levels) as well as other end-users (e.g. road managers and local communities). Recently, in the lack of relevant knowledge, a proper population management in urban and other non-hunting areas is very difficult or even impossible, which poses serious problems and headaches to all end-users and stakeholders, including redirecting their priorities in issues which should not be the most important within their responsibilities and tasks. The importance of the project realization has been recognized by different end-users who have already expressed their willingness to support the project realisation by letters of support (see appendix). Huge importance of the project for the state authorities is confirmed by the fact, that the Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MKGP) as responsible ministry for game species and population management has selected this topic as a priority issue, which would be co-financed within the CRP programme. Recently, the Ministry has been facing several questions how to deal with the problems if/when different game species occur more and more often in the urban environment (and in other non-hunting areas), and the conflicts become more frequent. Project implementation is primarily focused at reducing conflicts and damages in the urban environment and in other non-hunting areas which will have beneficial effect also on the budget of the Republic of Slovenia, since the state as the game owner is responsible for the damages in all non-hunting areas (compensation is paid by MKGP). Our findings will also help all institutions that are (in)indirectly involved in management and solving of conflicts connected with the occurrence of game species in urban areas (hunters, police, firefighters, various inspection services, veterinarians, road managers, local communities, etc.), as well as to all inhabitants of Slovene cities/towns. An important direct outcome of the project realization for the economy is connected with the part of the project, which is focused on reducing the number of conflicting events on the roads. Indeed, obtained results will ensure the development of methods and tools (i.e. different deterrents) for reducing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions. The possibility for developing, producing and selling appropriate deterrents (e.g. acoustic deterrents, deer-warning reflectors) and/or traps can stimulate Slovenian producers to st
Most important scientific results Annual report 2018, 2019, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2018, 2019, final report
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