Hnutí Duha Olomouc, Hnutí DUHA / Friends of the Earth Czech Republic

Wolf patrol

Miroslav Kutal is a campaigner with the Olomouc local group of Hnutí DUHA / Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, as well as a biologist about to finish his PhD in forest ecology. Miroslav has been working on large carnivore conservation in the west Carpathians since 2003, and was joined by Leona Machalová in 2005.

Wolves, bears and lynx are all threatened in the west Carpathians – the only area in the Czech Republic where all these three species of large carnivores occur – with poaching being the main obstacle to their successful recovery. But the populations are small and also threatened by other anthropogenic factors like habitat fragmentation and dense traffic.
Miroslav began a program to coordinate volunteers to guard the forest against poachers and take part in field monitoring.

Later, Leona took over the coordination and Miroslav began to focus on other projects such as education campaigns, communication with the media, experts and stakeholders, and participation in decision making processes where important wildlife corridors are endangered by infrastructure or the development of new built-up areas. Miroslav also communicates at the international level with Slovak and Polish partners, and spearheaded work against wolf culling in Slovakia by drafting a legal complaint to the European Commission which resulted in the EU putting pressure on Slovakia to reduce its hunting quotas.

Today, about one hundred volunteers take part in the wolf patrols every year, and thousands of people are involved in various ways through the education campaign.

Meanwhile, several projects that were set to threaten the wildlife corridors have been stopped, such as the proposed R49 motorway, or improved, such as railway reconstruction near Jablunkov. Other projects improved the landscape permeability outright, including a tree planting programme in the Jablunkov wildlife corridor.

“I consider our Carpathian mountain forests somehow hollow without wolves, lynx and other carnivores. Because of poaching and other threats, I decided to try my best to ensure good conditions for carnivores to make a comeback here.”MIROSLAV KUTAL

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