The implementation of the first programme for long-term monitoring of biodiversity in Galicica National Park goes back to 2011 and the adoption of the first Management Plan for the park. Over the last 3 years, the support from PONT helped the Public Institution Galicica National Park (PIGNP) double the number of its technical staff involved in the implementation of the monitoring programme, but also develop an effective partnership with the experts at the Macedonian Ecological Society also receiving support from PONT. Since 2020, a number of protocols of the long-term monitoring programme for the park have been updated and are being implemented together with MES, such as the monitoring of the nesting colony of the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) at the Golem Grad Island, the breeding population of the goosander (Mergus merganser) at Lake Prespa and Lake Ohrid, and the population of the Macedonian newt (Triturus macedonicus). “The collaboration with MES helped us improve the monitoring protocol for the Macedonian newt by adopting a ‘capture-recapture’ method that greatly enhances the accuracy of our assessment of its population” Kliment Nanev, a biologist at the PIGNP, told the PONT staff members that joined the experts in the field.
This important partnership has been recently enhanced to include a number of applied conservation research activities in the park, such as the estimation of the density of the population of the roe deer – the main prey of the Balkan lynx, survey of forest dwelling bat species in the park, assessment of food availability and diet of the great cormorant colony on the Golem Grad Island, as well as continuation of the long-term study of the population dynamics of the Golem Grad island reptiles (the dice snake, Hermann’s tortoises, and horn-nosed viper). “Our research of the insular population of the Hermann’s tortoise showed that a very few females remain currently, and it is a high time to act and preserve this population before reintroductions become necessary” explained Dragan Arsovski PhD, a herpetologist and a regular staff of the MES Prespa Office in Resen.