Research & Development

Preparation of action plans for the regulation of populations of seven invasive species (2009–2011)

Plans for the regulation of the population abundance of seven invasive species: American mink (Mustela vison), raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), Chinese sleeper (Perccottus glenii), Eastern Crayfish (Orconectes limosus), Sosnowski's hogweed (Heracleum sosnowskyi), maple ash (Acer negundo) and large-leaved Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) were prepared and agreed amongst organizations. Plans have been implemented through the Ministry of the Environment of the Republic of Lithuania. 

Preparation of protection plans for 23 protected and rare species (2009–2011)

148 action plans were prepared and agreed amongst organization for 23 threatened and rare animal and plant species. Among these, the plans included several mammal species: lynx (Lynx lynx), harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), Nathusiu’s pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii), Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii) and the pond bat (Myotis dasycneme). Plans have been implemented through the Ministry of the Environment of the Republic of Lithuania.

Survey and genetic research of the wolf population (2009–2010)

Analysis of data obtained through a wolf survey conducted by foresters showed an increase in the population – the minimum number of wolves in 2010 was 270 individuals and they were distributed in 26.9% of surveyed forest areas. Lethal means of population control were recommended for further management with quotas suggested of up to 50–60 individuals.

Results of the genetic investigation:
Baltrūnaitė, L., Balčiauskas, L., Åkesson, M. 2013. The genetic structure of the Lithuanian wolf population. Central European Journal of Biology.  8(5): 440–447. DOI: 10.2478/s11535-013-0154-9

Evaluation of the status of the species of European importance (European pond turtle and otter) and problematic invasive species – American mink (2008–2009)

30 individuals of European pond turtle (of which, 17% were young) were registered in four of five monitored territories. A stable population or increase of up to 5–10% was forecasted.
Up to 5000 otter individuals and 9000 (5100–20500) American mink individuals were estimated as the population numbers in Lithuania in 2008. No special means of otter conservation were required.

Investigation of wildlife migration on roads, identification of problematic sectors, proposals on road fencing and other measures (2008– 2009)

Investigations were carried out in 2008–2009 on the Lithuanian main roads A1–A18. The movements of hoofed animals were modeled for the main roads A1 and A2, and registered WVA were analysed. Also, 2500 unregistered cases WVA were identified, and the importance of underground passages, fencing, deer crates and jumpouts was assessed.

Assessment of wolf population management means, preparation of methods and recommendations (2008–2009)

Recommendations for the management of the wolf population were prepared after analysis of distribution and numbers (based on monitoring and survey), data on wolf damage and public acceptance. Recommendations were discussed with stakeholders, such as hunters, cattle owners, conservationists and NGOs.

Evaluation of the status of animal species (lynx, bats, amphibians) of community interest calling for the establishment of their protection areas (2007–2008)

The population status of lynx, pond bat, barbastelle, crested newt and fire-bellied toad was assessed. The lynx population status was found insufficient, the pond bat and barbastelle status in wintering sites insufficient, while pond bat status in summer in the Natura 2000 sites was bad. The status of fire-bellied toad populations is insufficient, and the crested newt status bad.

Research on the status of wolves and limited game species (2007–2008)

Wolf, moose, red deer and roe deer monitoring was condcted. Wolves were found in 14 out of 25 sites, with 45 individuals registered. Average density was 2.80±0.,68 ind./1000 ha in the inhabited sites. Habitat quality of ungulates varied: for the roe deer it is good, for red deer increasing, while for moose stable. Further limiting of the ungulate hunt was recommended, with a ban in territories with red deer density < 3 ind./1000 ha, and that of moose – < 2 ind./1000 ha.

Services for the assessment of the status, control and abundance regulation measures for the raccoon dog population, and preparation of a regulation programme (2007–2008)

An increase of raccoon dog numbers in Lithuania was registered, with an estimated 58550±4050 individuals present in autumn of 2008, and the number of roadkilled individuals ca. 14800. The average density estimation was 11,71±0,81 (6,7– 20,0) ind./1000 ha. Potential litter size was 9±0,76, and the actual 8,7±0,65 young. Sexually active males were registered through winter, and heat in the females started in January. Such early breeding of raccoon dog may have a non-predictable impact. Increased hunting and extermination of raccoon dogs in protected areas was recommended.

Migration of wild animals and amphibians across roads of national and regional importance (2007–2008)

Mammal and amphibian migrations across national and regional roads were investigated, with respect to seasonal dynamics, timing and species composition. Critical road segments were selected and screened, recommendations as for underground passages and diminishing number of WVAs were prepared.

Assessment of the otter population status and recommendations for its protection (2007–2008)

Otter numbers, distribution and population status were assessed, and threats evaluated. The distribution of the species was found to be contiguous, with the best habitats being fish ponds, medium-sized rivers and rivulets. The minimum population number in Lithuania in 2007–2008 was estimated at 3000, and the maximum number at 5000. The habitat ecological capacity for the species was assessed as 6000 individuals. No real threats for the species were found, thus measures of protection are not needed. The population status and perspectives are very good.

Evaluation of highway underpasses and overpasses (2006)

Newly-built underground passages for wild animals on Lithuanian highways were assessed in respect of diminishing number of WVAs and species composition of mammals using them. Technical details of passages and their shortcomings were evaluated. Recommendations for building new passages and animal monitoring in them were prepared.

Monitoring of game animals protected by EU legislation (2006–2007)

A program of fencing of the free–ranging European bison herd (2004)

Large carnivores in northern landscapes: an interdisciplinary approach to their regional conservation (2002–2006)

In Lithuania, the project was targeted to four areas: (1) – collecting data on the distribution and status of wolf and lynx populations, (2) collecting data on the level of carnivore predation on domestic animals, (3) raising the level of information on large carnivores, and (4) assessing public attitudes towards large carnivores and to compare them across the Baltic region.