Throughout the project, progress will be monitored and once the main conservation actions have been implemented, an assessment of the results will be carried out to identify how successful the different actions have been, and whether the expected results have been achieved.
D.1 Wolf activity monitoring and feeding ecology analysis post implementation of conservation actions
A final Iberian wolf survey will take place throughout the study area, through the application of the same methods described in Action A.3. This action’s overall goal is to establish a comparison with the initial wolf status obtained in A.3, hence it will be of key importance in order to assess the project’s conservation achievements and other action’s success.
Wolf range and demography patterns (minimum subpopulation size, breeding success, mortality, sex-ratios), feeding ecology, rendez-vous site fidelity and genetic flux will be assessed and compared.
D.2 Monitoring the success of the release of wild ungulates and their situation at the end of the project
Monitoring is an essential part of any reintroduction or restocking program, as it allows for the evaluation of success, by measuring the survival and mortality rates but also assessing the success of all management actions throughout the program. The success of roe deer restocking will be monitored through GPS/GMS collars and transects.
D.3 Monitoring the success of damage preventive measures and best management practises
The number of wolf attacks will be registered before and after the implementation of damage preventive measures in order to compare attacks’ frequency and severity in targeted properties during the project.
This action will give valuable information of which kind of combination of preventive measures is more effective attending to the characteristics of each agricultural property which can be replicated in other properties, regions and countries with similar characteristics to reduce conflicts with wolves.
D.4 Monitoring the socio-economic impact of the project
This task aims to understand changes in perceptions of stakeholders towards the project after the implementation of project actions. The human dimension study carried out in Action A.7 will be repeated and the results will be used as an evaluation of the success of the project.
This task also aims to understand if and how the project activities (especially Action E.6) have generated economic benefits for the relevant stakeholders. The project will develop an ongoing system of key performance indicators which will focus on conventional commercial/economic outputs and specific wolf conservation impact measurement.
Finally, this task aims to understand how the creation of a brand that identifies products that support wolf conservation can contribute to encourage positive attitudes towards wolves and create benefits for local livestock producers. Performance indicators such as number of livestock owners that are part of the brand, number and location of consumers and profit will be assessed.
D.5 Assessment of the project impact on ecosystem functions
The aim of this action is to assess the impact of project actions on ecosystem functions. The Iberian wolf, as a top predator, provides ecosystem services by controlling populations of ungulates and meso-carnivores by depredation and competition. The presence of wolves in the food chain increases complexity and gives mores stability to the ecosystem. This can bring benefits to people, the most direct one being that wolves maintain healthier populations of wild ungulates, which can decrease the impact or the spread of diseases among ungulates (e.g., lower infection rates in the interface wildlife/livestock).