The knowledge of population size and its structure is essential for the development of effective management strategies in wildlife species. Therefore, we will implement a survey on the current distribution, population features, threats and limiting factors of the Red & Fallow Deer and Balkan Chamois. Additionally, we will collect reference points on the current distribution and habitat preferences of the Fallow Deer populations for the purpose of the species habitat modelling.
Information on the extensive livestock numbers and distribution will be collected, including seasonal grazing, on the territory of the Pirin Mts. and the Rhodope Mts. Additionally, the interaction of the horses with other grazing extensively raised large herbivores will be analysed and their impact on high mountain grassland ecosystems and wild herbivores will be assessed. Feasibility studies for Fallow and Red Deer and Balkan Chamois restoration will be carried out following the IUCN Guidelines for reintroductions and other species translocation.
The use of habitat types by wildlife species is the central issue in the ecology. For the needs of feasibility studies for the Red and Fallow Deer and Balkan Chamois, a GIS spatial analysis will be conducted. Digital thematic maps for the field studies will be prepared. To evaluate the opportunities for their restoration, a habitat suitability and ecological niche analysis for the Fallow and Red Deer, as well as for the Balkan Chamois will be implemented. The GIS analyses will be conducted using ArcGIS and MaxEnt software. The input modeling data for the distribution/habitat use of the target species will be based on field studies.
Herbivores are classified as browsers and grazers according to the relative consumption of browse versus grass. The knowledge of the diet of an herbivore is essential to manage wildlife species, as well as connecting diet composition to demography is challenging in most of the wildlife species. Therefore, the project aims (a) to create a reference key with plants of the area and (b) to identify important plant species in the diet of the deer.