Game Guard Body of Hunting Organizations in Greece: A conservation success story

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1 Game Guard Body of Hunting Organizations in Greece: A conservation success story Dr Vasileios Bontzorlos Scientific Associate Hellenic Hunters Confederation Conference: Biodiversity 2020: Hunting for Solutions Belgium, Brussels, 13 September 2013

2 Hunting Organizations in Greece Created 43 years ago Their main goals & principles: Environmental protection and wildlife fauna conservation Halting biodiversity loss Sustainable use of natural resources Sustainable hunting

3 Why did Hunting Organizations in Greece created the Game Guard Body? The National authorities in Greece Public Forestry Service: - Lack of human resources - Lack of economic resources - Lack of adequate controls in rural areas and improper implementation of environmental legislation

4 5 discrete different axis: Α) Special Controlling rights (based on solid official legislation) Continuous patrols in the field Β) Active engagement of all Game Guards in the 4 national-level Research Programs of Hunting Organizations in Greece: 1) «ARTEMIS Ι» 3) «WILDLIFE HABITAT IMPROVEMENT» 2) «ARTEMIS ΙΙ» 4) «PHENOLOGY OF BIRD MIGRATION» in specific:

5 1 st axis: Special Controlling Rights & Patrols in Rural Areas Same controlling rights with Public Officers of the Forestry Service File a lawsuit, confiscate illegal material, arrestment They control all kinds of environmental crimes, not just illegal acts concerning hunting Continuous training with state of the art seminars Hired with very strict criteria and a continuous evaluation takes place State of the art technological equipment

6 1 st axis: Special Controlling Rights & Patrols in Rural Areas Broad geographical network Possibility of immediate intervention 5 th Hunting Federation of Epirus: 42 Game Guards 6 th Hunting Federation of Macedonia - Thrace: 84 Game Guards 4 th Hunting Federation of Sterea Hellas: 68 Game Guards 7 th Hunting Federation of Thessaly: 39 Game Guards 2 nd Hunting Federation of Archipelagos: 30 Game Guards 3 rd Hunting Federation of Peloponnese: 69 Game Guards 1 st Hunting Federation of Crete & Dodecanese: 49 Game Guards

7 1 st axis: Special Controlling Rights & Patrols in Rural Areas Immediate intervention in isolated locations within 1 hour

8 1 st axis: Special Controlling Rights & Patrols in Rural Areas 380 Game Guards patrol in rural areas of Greece 24 hours per day and 365 days per year

9 1 st axis: Special Controlling Rights & Patrols in Rural Areas Specific Actions taken by Game Guards during their patrols in favor of Biodiversity Special patrols within protected areas (NATURA 2000 network) Special patrols when hunting season is closed in order to protect breeding Special patrols during avian migration periods and a few results:

10 1 st axis: Special Controlling Rights & Patrols in Rural Areas More than controls in 12 years!!!! Every year an average number of controls is added to those of the previous years Only 2% of illegal acts have been recorded on the total realized controls during a 12-year period!!! 48% reduction on the average number of recorded illegal acts per Game Guard during a 12-year period!!!

11 Percentage of illegal shooting within protected areas in respect to the total controls Pioneers in Biodiversity Protection: 1 st axis: Special Controlling Rights & Patrols in Rural Areas 0,30% 0,25% 0,24% 45% Reduction of illegal shooting within protected areas 0,20% 0,20% 0,17% 0,15% 0,18% 0,14% 0,10% 0,12% 0,11% 0,07% 0,09% 0,05% 0,08% 0,07% 0,00%

12 Percentage of illegal shooting out of hunting season in respect to the total controls Pioneers in Biodiversity Protection: 1 st axis: Special Controlling Rights & Patrols in Rural Areas 0,25% 0,20% 0,23% 0,22% 0,19% 30,4% Reduction of illegal shooting out of hunting season 0,15% 0,10% 0,13% 0,09% 0,10% 0,07% 0,07% 0,05% 0,07% 0,06% 0,04% 0,00%

13 Percentage of illegal shooting of protected species in respect to the total controls Pioneers in Biodiversity Protection: 1 st axis: Special Controlling Rights & Patrols in Rural Areas 0,06% 0,05% 0,04% 0,05% 0,05% 66% Reduction of illegal shooting of protected species 0,03% 0,03% 0,03% 0,03% 0,02% 0,02% 0,02% 0,02% 0,02% 0,01% 0,01% 0,01% 0,00%

14 2 nd axis: Participation in the Research Program «ARTEMIS Ι» A Hellenic Hunters Confederation (HHC) Research Program. Initiated in 1995 Monitors annually the game species population dynamics through the recording of their harvest. Estimates game species populations in national level The scientific coordinators of the project are independent researchers, academics & foreign institutes Hunters complete annually a statistical questionnaire with the results of all their daily hunting outings Database right now exceeding records of hunting outings

15 2 nd axis: Participation in the Research Program «ARTEMIS Ι» Modern statistical analysis Harvest indices have been repeatedly used in scientific community to monitor game species populations Conclusions lead to the appropriate management decisions for biodiversity protection Game Guards of Hunting Organizations in Greece help in the successful delivery of ARTEMIS I statistical questionnaires in all hunters, and urge & inform all hunters within their district to complete the questionnaires

16 3 rd axis: Participation in the Research Program «ARTEMIS ΙΙ» HHC initiated in 2005 the Research Program «ARTEMIS ΙΙ» It monitors annually the structure of game species populations (age and sex) in Greece through the collection of biological samples ARTEMIS I knowledge is completed by studying the balance of the populations The scientific coordinators of the project are independent researchers, academics & foreign institutes Database right now exceeding identified and catalogued biological samples

17 3 rd axis: Participation in the Research Program «ARTEMIS ΙΙ» Game Guards of Hunting Organizations in Greece form the main pillar of ARTEMIS II. They collect all biological samples in the field while conducting controls to hunters. They handle the material, organize it, identify the species, and then they forward it to the scientific team. Conclusions lead to the appropriate management decisions for biodiversity protection

18 4 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «WILDLIFE HABITAT IMPROVEMENT» The MOST important action of HHC for biodiversity protection Biodiversity has been mainly reduced to due habitat destruction (e.g. old CAP) HHC acknowledged that problem and initiated the program in 2005 Its main target to improve wildlife habitats in order to preserve wildlife fauna and preserve high biodiversity indices The basic actions of the program, to which all Game Guards are actively and fully engaged for their successful realization, are the following:

19 4 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «WILDLIFE HABITAT IMPROVEMENT» Annual seeding of thousands of hectares with various crops which are left unharvested

20 4 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «WILDLIFE HABITAT IMPROVEMENT» Annual planting of thousands trees and re-foresting after destructive fires

21 4 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «WILDLIFE HABITAT IMPROVEMENT» Installing annually artificial water-sources for wildlife fauna during the drought periods

22 4 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «WILDLIFE HABITAT IMPROVEMENT» Annual adaptation and releases of game species, after strict genetic controls

23 4 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «WILDLIFE HABITAT IMPROVEMENT» Installing food stations for wildlife fauna after destructive natural events (floods, fires)

24 4 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «WILDLIFE HABITAT IMPROVEMENT» Prevention and extinction of forest fires in co-operation with the state, when such natural events occur

25 5 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «PHENOLOGY OF BIRD MIGRATION» A HHC Research Program. Initiated in 2005 Records the phenology migration avian species in Greece The scientific coordinators of the project are independent researchers, academics & foreign institutes Environmental variables are also recorded and then combined with species presence data It is a program realized in 3 axis:

26 5 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «PHENOLOGY OF BIRD MIGRATION» i) Record the phenology of migration of waterfowl game & non-game species 22 major wetlands of the country 38 specialized observers 3 observation per month in each wetland Monitoring lasts for 10 months per year Database exceeding right now records

27 5 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «PHENOLOGY OF BIRD MIGRATION» ii) Record the phenology of migration of Eurasian woodcock 26 different habitats in the country 26 specialized observers 3 observations per month in each location Monitoring lasts for 5 months each year Database exceeding right now records

28 5 th axis: Participation in the Research Program «PHENOLOGY OF BIRD MIGRATION» iii) Study the phenology of migration of Thrushes with the use of bioacoustic stations 5 bio-acoustic stations in different locations in Greece 14 days recordings in a 5-month time frame Each night recordings of Thrushes calls for 4 hours Sound analysis for species definition Database exceeding right now hours of sound recordings

29 summing up Except all the above, the Game Guard Body also: It participates actively in the first line of the national program for rabies control which has reappeared in Greece, helping public health

30 summing up Except all the above, the Game Guard Body also: Helps in the transport of wounded animals in need for medical care

31 summing up Except all the above, the Game Guard Body also: Is ready to act and offer assistance in all rural areas, when needed

32 Biodiversity in Greece......Has a strong & effective ally

33 THANK YOU FOR your ATTENTION

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