Actions' Progress Evaluation of Project Implementation

Evaluation of Project Implementation

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Action A1: Identification of sectors with high risk of bear traffic fatalities
The frame methodology applied under action A1 was radio-tagging of a sample of brown bear specimens from the general population. It was successful in terms of (a) sampling effort and radio-tagging results (sample size in relation to sampling effort and cost efficiency), (b) scheduled durability and utility of the output (telemetry data streaming), and (c) the radio-collars smooth operation and telemetry data continuous streaming under Followit.Geo module maximized the quantity and quality of data pool.
The only weak point of the whole process was the limited number of radio-tagged bear individuals (sample size) during this specific period of method implementation. In fact there is a high degree of likelihood in such operations as bears are very versatile in their behavioural patterns which directly influence the radio-tagging success rate. Overall this did not influence the global output of the operation in relation to the action’s objectives which have been reached as the critical subsectors along the KA45 highway and the other parts of the road network had been identified.
Action A2: Preliminary damage assessment
An already existing questionnaire, prepared by CALLISTO experts in the framework of the LIFE project PINDOS/GREVENA (LIFE07 NAT/GR/000291) was used for the assessment, after proper adaptation to the specific needs of the project area.
Action A3: Non-invasive genetic monitoring
The frame methodology applied was: (a) Installation and survey of a bear hair-traps network installed on power poles(n=110), and (b) DNA analyses of the biological material collected from this network and from other random spots. Sampling effortin relation to sample size and cost efficiency was achieved at the desirable degree.
Action A4:Analysis of local people attitudes
The surveyconsisted of two phases, using first a qualitative and then a quantitative method.The quantitative method represents the main part of the study. Forthe statistical analyses, data were entered into SPSS for Windows (PC version). Analyses were conducted using two main types of test: i) Pearson’s chi-square test:A chi-square test of association was used to test the null hypothesis that row andcolumn variables were independent, ii) Independent samples t-test.
The qualitative method served essentially to determine important issues about the topic of the survey. A semi-structured interview was the method used, that helped structure the questionnaire. For this method, the interviewer had some prepared questions, but they were very general. The interviewee was allowed to lead theconversation. The aim of the interviews was to assess attitudes without introducingprejudices from the interviewer.
A quantitative social sciences method was used as the main method to collect datain this survey. The research instrument was a self-administered written questionnaire.The implemented questionnaire was based on a research instrument developed byA. Bath, Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada. It was substantially revised and adapted to Greek conditions. To identify potentialproblems, the questionnaire was pre-tested with interviews. This resulted in severalchanges to improve the legibility and comprehensibility of the questionnaire byenlarging the size of pages and fonts, tidying up the layout and clarifying the wordingof some questions and answers.
Action A5: Creation of a LGDs owner registry
Significant data concerning the Livestock Guarding Dogs were collected after necessary visits and interviews to breeders, livestock raisers and beekeepers. In total 54 questionnaires were filled-in.
Complementary to the efforts made by the ANKAS staff members on this Action, CALLISTO staff members initiated communication with animal breeders and rural people who live in areas neighbouring the Project Area(Kozani and Ioannina), in an effort to identify owners of good LGDs, who could support development of a network of Livestock Guarding Dog owners (Action C.3).
Action C1: Installation of warning signs and wildlife deterrents
Output included in the action’s deliverable has been used for the implementation of action C.1, and more specifically for the optimum definition of warning signs and WWR (Wildlife Reflectors) appropriate locations for installation along the KA45 highway, as well as along the old national and county roads network.
Action C2: Installation of bear-proof refuse-containers & electric fences
The locations for installation of the 30 electric fenceswere selected according Multi-Criteria Decision-Making (MCDM) method, considering trade-offs between multiple criteria and objectives, in order to prioritize or rank alternatives (see Action C2, paragraph 5.2 above).
Findings of Actions A2 and A3 were used for the distribution of the 40 specially transformed bear-proof refuse-containers in municipalities of the project area.
Action C3: LGD owners’ network
Input from Action A5 and technical support provided by CALLISTO’s experts, who paid visits to members of the Network, for confirming the quality of the dogs identified and for providing advices and veterinarian care for free, were used for the set-up of the Network.
Action C4: Establishment and initial operation of an “Eco-Volunteers Programme”
CALLISTO applied the methodology of non-formal adult education, the transformative learning process and approach of empowering groups. CALLISTO chosethese methodologies both to inform and train volunteers and for the communication and collaborations with unions and associations. CALLISTO aimed to activate citizens and members of unions. Based on those methodologies all participants expressed their feelings and thoughts and could redefine their views and attitudes towards environment and the target species of the project - brown bear. CALLISTO with these methods managed to motivate volunteers and citizens and mobilize them to growth social environmental consciousness.
CALLISTO communicated with possible participants through a list of contacts maintained by the NGO. This way, more than 300 persons were informed about the project activities. Press releases to the Media, as well as announcements in festivals and events where CALLISTO staff members participated. CALLISTO disseminated same information to approximately 500 more persons through social media.
Volunteers were trained in situ (on-the-field) and were supervised during their work by the Coordinator and other experts employed in the frame of the Action.
Action C5: Bear Emergency Team
The frame methodology applied under action C5, namely (a) a set of evaluation criteria to assess each case of bear-human interference needs for resolution, (b) the use of specific bear deterring means and devices and of methods (such as relocation), (c) the establishment of an operational manual defining the steps in each intervention case, made the BET to operate with a maximum efficiency and coordination.
Actually the BET had to deal with a living animal such as the brown bear, which is characterized by a high degree of intelligence and adaptive skills. This made some tasks regarding aversive behavioural conditioning to only partially reach the desirable final result. However the acquired experience and the know-how is of outstanding importance both for the BET and for the competent services involved. Also the fact that the operational manual became officially approved and put in force since 2014 is among the major achievements of the project.
Action D1: Public information and awareness raising campaign
The organisation of local meetings on specific “hot” issues (like the extra meeting organised by CALLISTO in order to ease people’s fears concerning the bear presence at Krepeni area) has been proven very successful.
The dissemination of the information material printed by the project at special points of interest (administrative buildings, schools, etc.), it is estimated that increased their impact on the local people.
Action D2: Special information campaign for agriculture professionals
The methodology applied for action D2, included communication means that were designed in order to raise the awareness of agriculture professionals concerning the available mitigation measures for bear damages. The methodology included both printed material and seminars that successfully addressed the stakeholder group targeted.
More seminars should have been initially planned targeting people that have problems with habituated bears. Because of the extreme situation that has been caused from a bear presence near the city of Kastoria, D2 action has been slightly modified for addressing also this situation effectively.
Action E2: Monitoring of mitigation measures’ effectiveness and efficiency
The frame methodology applied under action E2 that is (a) radio-tagging of a brown bear specimens sample and valorisation of telemetry data, (b) regular inspection surveys of the mitigation structures to investigate status and detect use by targeted species, and (c) combination of the radio-collars VHF transmission system with a fixed sensors-readers system (designed and manufactured under project ALPINE), made possible to reach this action’s objectives. Also the fact that this action implementation was supported by the complementary pilot installation of sensor devices, in two selected mitigation structures (under project ALPINE), designed to communicate with the radio-collars VHF transmission mode, made the possibility to detect with enough accuracy the effective use of mitigation structures by bears and wildlife species in the area more tangible over a broader scale and on a long term basis.
This output from this action based on the aforementioned methodology could have been further optimized if the sample size of radio tagged bears (actually n=13) would have been higher and more specifically the sample tagged in spring 2012 had lasted over a longer period.
Action E3: Monitoring of brown bear population and distribution status and trends
The methodological frame applied under action E3 was slightly modified regarding the part dealing with yearly spring surveys for detection of presence of females with cubs of the year (FWCOY). This part did not materialize as initially scheduled due, as already explained, toproject’s financial constraints which impacted the smooth implementation of this method. In order to palliate to this deviation from the initial methodology, a more localized survey using IR camera traps over a hot spot sector where bear-human interference cases had been occurring at a high frequency, was decided and implemented. The hot- spot area targeted was the area around Kastoria Lake which is suitable habitat for bears but also in immediate proximity with residential areas and human related land-use practices (agricultural lands etc.).
The method of the genetic approach in this action compensated adequately the failure of fully implementing the former methodology. The sample size of biological material collected during two field surveys as well as the possibility to compare with results produced under action A3 brought this action back on track.
The output from this action based on the genetic approach methodology could have been even further optimized if the sample of biological material collected would have been of larger size, better quality and supplemented with other categories (such as stools). But the uncertainty of this part of the action implementation (due to generalized financial problems in the project) did not allow to schedule it more in season (in spring –beginning of summer 2015 instead of fall 2015) the second survey so as to secure a better quality of the biological material.

 

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