National Action Plan for the Balkan chamois

November 5, 2021
Categories: Announcements

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=” id=” background_color=” background_image=” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=” video_webm=” video_ogv=” video_url=” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” overlay_color=” video_preview_image=” border_size=” border_color=” border_style=”solid” padding_top=” padding_bottom=” padding_left=” padding_right=”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=” border_size=” border_color=” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” spacing=”yes” background_image=” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding_top=” padding_right=” padding_bottom=” padding_left=” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=” id=” animation_type=” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” center_content=”no” last=”no” min_height=” hover_type=”none” link=”][fusion_text]The Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) has a scattered and fragmented distribution throughout the Balkan countries. In Greece, it comprises 30 populations which are found in Pindos mountain range, in Central Greece mountains, in Mount Olympus, in Rhodope’s mountains and in some mountains of the north-northwest borders of the country. The total individual number at national level is estimated approximately between 1,330 and 1,765 individuals.

The main pressure/threat for the Balkan chamois is poaching, as the Balkan chamois hunting is prohibited throughout the country (Forest Regulation 86/1969). Other significant pressures and threats on the species are road development and traffic, intensity of livestock farming and specific practices of free – range livestock farming, fragmentation of the species distribution and genetic isolation of its populations, disturbance from legal hunting activities, tourism activities and mountain sport activities, extraction activities of minerals and metals, and climate change impacts. Significant disturbance to the Balcan chamois populations located in the border zones is also caused by neighboring countries’ interventions.

The Balkan chamois is included in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and Annex III of the Berne Convention for the Protection of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, and is listed in the Red Book of Threatened Animals of Greece as Near Threatened (NT). In Greece, the conservation status of the species according to the 4th National Report under Article 17 of Directive 92/43/EEC for the period 2013-2018 was assessed as “Unfavourable-Bad” (U2).

National Action Plan

The National Action Plan aim is to ensure the Balkan chamois (R. rupicapra balcanica) survival and to improve the species Conservation Status at a national level. In order to achieve the NAP objectives, specific management actions will be implemented in the first stage, which were selected based on prioritization and after available funding possibilities had been taken into consideration.

NAP management actions that will be implemented -in order to increase the Balkan chamois population at local and national level- include an assessment of available species habitat in terms of habitat adequacy to support the chamois population and its competitors (cows etc.). In addition, with the use of a satellite transmitter-fitted neckband, it will be possible to monitor the movements and whereabouts of individuals of the species. These NAP actions aim to complement any knowledge gaps about the populations and critical habitats of the Balkan chamois in the country.

Management actions aimed to combat poaching include specially trained officers and appropriate and effective patrol equipment to further enhance the capacity of competent authorities in surveillance and patrolling activities. Appropriate and effective patrol equipment includes automatic sound recording systems installation which will simultaneously diagnose and identify the source that causes the particular sound.

In addition, management actions aimed at the protection and conservation of specific populations will be implemented, such as the diagnosis of the disease with visible skin-hair symptoms that has been observed in individuals of the Balkan chamois population on Mount Tymfi.

Mountain road development negatively affect the presence and use of the habitat by the Balkan chamois, constituting causes of serious disturbance (e.g. facilitation of poaching, increased presence of tourists, frequent presence of motorized vehicles, intensification of legal hunting, intensification of animal husbandry, facilitation of construction large projects that degrade the habitat, etc.).

The conservation of the Balkan chamois habitat is expected to benefit from the development of an action plan for roadless areas and from the use of barricades (bars) to limit access of existing forest and mountain roads, on a seasonal or annual basis, in or near the species habitats.

In sites with Balkan chamois presence, water supply sites will be created through the modulation of abandoned springs and reservoirs, and/or watering holes and semi-natural spring or rainwater collection reservoirs will be constructed in order to improve the habitat conservation.

To evaluate the effectiveness of management actions, a monitoring programme will be implemented using evaluation indicators, in order to assess actions in an objective and measurable way, to the extent that this is possible.

The NAP implementation is expected to significantly limit the negative impacts on the species by managing pressures and threats exerted on the species, and is expected to enable a significant increase in Balkan chamois population size and geographical distribution, while limiting the fragmentation of the current species distribution nationally.[/fusion_text][fusion_code]PGRpdiBjbGFzcz0iaWZyYW1lbHktZW1iZWQiPg0KPGRpdiBjbGFzcz0iaWZyYW1lbHktcmVzcG9uc2l2ZSIgc3R5bGU9ImhlaWdodDogMTQwcHg7IHBhZGRpbmctYm90dG9tOiAwOyI+PC9kaXY+DQo8L2Rpdj4NCjxzY3JpcHQgYXN5bmMgc3JjPSIvL2Nkbi5pZnJhbWUubHkvZW1iZWQuanMiIGNoYXJzZXQ9InV0Zi04Ij48L3NjcmlwdD4=[/fusion_code][fusion_text columns=” column_min_width=” column_spacing=” rule_style=”default” rule_size=” rule_color=” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=” id=”]

  1. The National Action Plan (NAP) for Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) was legally approved by the Ministry of Environment and Energy in August 2021 (the Ministerial Decision is available here).
  2. The Ministerial Decision was based on the corresponding study prepared and received by the Natural Environment and Biodiversity Management Directorate of the Ministry of the Environment and Energy, in the framework of the LIFE-IP 4 NATURA project “Integrated actions for conservation and management of Natura 2000 sites, species, habitats and ecosystems in Greece” (LIFE16 IPE/GR/000002).
  3. The full texts of the study are available on the LIFE-IP 4 NATURA deliverables page (Action A.1)