Transylvanian Wildlife Project data is collected using a combination of human visual surveillance, and camera traps. Sightings are plotted onto a database including GPS co-ordinates. Notes and photographs are also collated for each animal observed, including any distinguishing features. Photographs are not only useful for monitoring health and identity of individual animals but also for plotting territorial movements within survey areas.
To commence our non-invasive research we require a starter package of 20 camera traps to monitor tracks entering and exiting any given sample area. The boundary of this area will be observed by human surveyors from dawn to dusk. Camera traps offer colour images during daylight hours and black and white photographs in low level light conditions. Flash lighting is not used as this would not only scare the animals but lead and promote abnormal behaviour. Each surveyor has access to binoculars, camera, hide and hand held GPS to plot coordinates of sightings. Data is then uploaded to the main database daily. Once the designated period of surveillance has been completed, all data is then analysed and results published annually.
We know that wolves are difficult to spot so we use three methods of observation; conventional tracking; use of static hides; and finally a method rarely used before. Shepherds have more sightings of wolf than most, so we spend time following nomadic shepherds on foot. From early spring to autumn transhumant shepherds live with their sheep slowly moving for fresh grazing across the Carpathian mountain range.