Background

W.I.L.D. - The German Wildlife Information System

Although we know that wildlife monitoring is an integral part of wildlife management, there are still lacking data on e.g.:

  • Abundance
  • Spatio-temporal distribution
  • Gender distribution
  • Age patterns
  • Health status

 

In Germany, hunters realised that there is a more specific lack of data on species that are not included in the EU Directives and other conservation programmes. This data scarcity encompasses several game species such as:

  • Brown hare (Lepus europaeus)
  • Partridge (Perdix perdix)
  • Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
  • Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
  • European badger (Meles meles)
  • etc.

 Furthermore, information and data are missing on the status and evolution of Invasive Alien Species.

In order the fill those gaps, the German Hunting Association (Deutscher Jagdverband) and its Federal’s Hunting associations established the Wildlife Information System of Germany (W.I.L.D.) in 2001. The aims of this long-term project are to:

  • Gather Comprehensive recording of selected species of wildlife
  • Use scientific methods
  • Establish future representative data sets
  • Enforce sustainable use of wildlife
  • Provide policy makers with gathered data

 Different methods are used around three different pillars:

1) The reference areas which include at least two hunting districts and where a very detailed census is implemented
- Conducting wildlife counts, surveying and mapping activities
- Gathering data on land use
2) Area assessment where hunters respond to a questionnaire about the presence/absence of species, their health status, etc.
3) Hunting bag statistics provided by the governmental authorities

All the methods used are complementary and the analysis may differ amongst the pillars based on the type of data gathered.

Hunters play a key role in this process as they are responsible for providing the data and information asked through the questionnaires. At the beginning of the process, hunters were trained by some members of the research institutes or the Federal Hunting Associations to provide reliable data.

This process has been entirely implemented and financed by the German Hunters’ Association and is depending on the voluntary commitment of the German hunters on the ground.

It provides essential and long-term data on the population densities and productivity, not only for scientific purposes, but also for governments and NGOs. This information can be used for conservation actions and as an efficient basis for environmental management such as the development of ecological corridors.

Finally, monitoring data are also essential to ensure the sustainability of hunting practices so that there is a responsible use of game animals. For example, because of the alarming decline of partridge populations highlighted through this project, hunters decided to suspend hunting on partridges on a voluntary basis in several districts. W.I.L.D. is a powerful tool to demonstrate the sustainability of hunting and its contribution to wildlife conservation.

For more information please visit: http://www.jagdverband.de/node/3298