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    Goats in the Tatras: Results of the summer animal counting campaign

    816 chamois were counted by naturalists during a summer counting campaign of these protected animals throughout the Tatras. The Tatra National Park in Slovakia (TANAP) reported that there were 555 individuals on the Slovak side of the Tatras and 261 on the Polish side.

    The sister national parks on both sides of the Tatra Mountains organise a joint chamois count twice a year. The first count takes place in early summer, when naturalists can identify the animals’ offspring, and the second in autumn, during a two-day verification count.

    The results of the last count show that this year’s fledglings are 63 young chamois. The largest herds of chamois have traditionally been encountered by naturalists in the Belianske Tatras.

    Comparing data from the last ten years, it can be seen that the number of chamois in the Tatras is lower than before. For example, 10 years ago 963 were recorded, while now the number is 816. TANAP naturalists explain this difference by more precise counting. A special app is now being used to help mark the animals encountered in real time, eliminating the possibility of counting the same individuals twice. Previously, in previous years, chamois were marked on special cards and the results were verified later by other counters. This method of counting was less accurate.

    The chamois counting campaign in the Tatras has been carried out since 1957 and is the oldest nature monitoring carried out simultaneously by two countries. The number of chamois has fluctuated considerably over the years. For example, in the late 1990s, the lowest number of animals was recorded, oscillating around the critical limit of 200 individuals. Between 2014 and 2017, the number of chamois exceeded 1,000 individuals, and a record was set in 2018, when 1,431 chamois were found. In the following years, a decline in the population below one thousand individuals was recorded.

    It should be noted that last year’s chamois counting campaign failed due to unfavourable weather conditions.

    The chamois is a protected species. protected species. These animals live in small herds and are led by an experienced female with her young, known as a vixen. The males, called caps, usually live alone or form bachelor groups, joining the herds in autumn during mating season.

    In Poland, apart from the Tatras, chamois also live in the Sudetes, but these are individuals belonging to the Alpine species, which were brought to these mountains by the Czechs in the early 20th century. A small herd of chamois crossed the border into Poland in the 1970s and established themselves on the slopes of Śnieżnik.

    Counting chamois in the Tatras is an important tool for monitoring the population of these protected animals and allows measures to be taken to protect them and preserve the biodiversity of this unique mountain region.

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