What we do

Monitoring of Large Carnivore population


Scientific research is an important part of our actions and is linked to two main goals:

 - An in-depth assessment of the conservation status of each large carnivore species in relation to the different anthropogenic threats.

 - Implementation of intervention strategies and practices for the conservation of the species of interest.

In order to successfully reach the above goals, Calisto uses several different research techniques.

Using Wildlife Infrared Camera Traps.

Over the last several years, the use of infrared camera traps has been very popular because it helps scientists record population of animals and identify specific individuals.

They also provide us with information on the habitat usage (nesting locations, used as well as food source preferences). Finally, these devices (based on the research interest) can record the use of passages on major road axes (bridges, underground passages) of various animal species.

The device is secured and camouflaged in a tree usually with elastic straps and has, for obvious reasons, an anti-theft mechanism.

Once an animal (or human) has passed in front of the visual field of the camera, the camera is activated and takes a series of photographs or a short video. At night, the use of infrared radiation ensures that animals are not disturbed, as their light is almost invisible. Along with the photo, information like the date, time, temperature, and phase of the moon are also recorded, as they are important factors that can affect the behaviour of the animals.

Genetic Identification method.

The application of genetic identification (collection and analysis of genetic material (DNA) from a species) has been internationally established as the most accurate and reliable method for assessing many parameters of the population status of a species.

A DNA analysis can give accurate and scientifically documented information about an organism’s genetic identity, its gender, its relationship with the other individuals of a population, and the interactions that the neighbouring populations have with each other. DNA can be obtained from the hair follicles of an animal, from its tissue, blood, and faeces. Bears during the breeding season mark their territories by rubbing on trees and utility poles leaving behind their unique smell and biological material (such as hair residue) usable for genetic analysis.

Here you can find information on the program carried out by Callisto in collaboration with OTE-COSMOTE  for the collection of bear genetic material in Pindos and Rhodopi.


Radio Telemetry method

Radio telemetry method is one of the most common methods of tracking individuals from a population, it is especially widespread among cryptic species such as a bears and wolves.

According to this method, the animal is anesthetized by the team's vet and scientists wear the animal a radio tracking collar. This device, locates and records the position of the animal and is sending that location with an SMS over the internet. Therefore, the scientists can record in detail the spatial behaviour of the animal in its natural habitat and consequently interpret that behaviour in relation to the abiotic characteristics of the ecosystem as well as in relation to human activities (e.g. a major road axis such as Egnatia Odos) and presence.

Callisto’s scientific team has extensive experience and expertise in monitoring populations of large carnivores (to date, it has radiocollared about 60 bears).

Check out our "wild collaborators" here.