Miha Krofel

Miha Krofel
University of Ljubljana · Biotechnical Faculty

PhD
Carnivore ecologist at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

About

230
Publications
129,783
Reads
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4,219
Citations
Introduction
I’m a wildlife researcher working mainly on large carnivore ecology, management and conservation in Eurasia and Africa. I'm employed as a researcher and assistant professor at University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). I'm also working as a visiting researcher at Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Germany), external collaborator at CIBIO/InBio (Portugal) and University of Primorska (Slovenia) and as expert in the IUCN Species Survival Commission. I have dedicated most of my studies to Eurasian lynx, brown bear, grey wolf, leopard and jackals, and to a lesser degree to cheetah, snow leopard, clouded leopard, red deer, chamois, raven, raptors, lizards, and various scavengers.
Additional affiliations
October 2014 - present
University of Primorska
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Description
  • Giving course “Ecology of terrestrial ecosystems”
July 2014 - present
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Position
  • Collaborator
Description
  • Working as external collaborator in studies on canids in Europe and North Africa and on GCRESPONSE projet (A reptile model and 3600 m of altitudinal gradient to infer the ectotherm responses to global change in Portugal)
April 2014 - November 2015
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research
Position
  • Visiting Researcher
Description
  • Wokring on Leopard Research Project and Cheetah Research Project in Western Kalahari, Namibia
Education
September 2006 - December 2012
University of Ljubljana
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (230)
Article
Full-text available
The conservation of large carnivores is a formidable challenge for biodiversity conservation. Using a data set on the past and current status of brown bears (Ursus arctos), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), gray wolves (Canis lupus), and wolverines (Gulo gulo) in European countries, we show that roughly one-third of mainland Europe hosts at least one larg...
Article
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Top-down suppression by apex predators can limit the abundance and spatial distribution of mesopredators. However, this phenomenon has not been studied over long time periods in human-dominated landscapes, where the strength of this process might be limited. Here, we used a multi-scale approach to analyse interactions between two canids in the huma...
Article
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The cheetah is a prominent example for human–carnivore conflicts and mitigation challenges. Its global population suffered a substantial decline throughout its range. Here, we present an in-depth and new understanding of the socio-spatial organization of the cheetah. We show that cheetahs maintain a network of communication hubs distributed in a re...
Article
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Carnivore predation on livestock often leads people to retaliate. Persecution by humans has contributed strongly to global endangerment of carnivores. Preventing livestock losses would help to achieve three goals common to many human societies: preserve nature, protect animal welfare, and safeguard human livelihoods. Between 2016 and 2018, four ind...
Article
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The arrival of a new carnivore can have important effects on local communities. While several effects of introduced alien species have been well documented, few studies have reported the ecological consequences of an expanding native species. Golden jackals (Canis aureus) are rapidly expanding their distribution in Europe, far beyond their historic...
Article
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The ecology and evolution of reproductive timing and synchrony has been a topic of great interest in evolutionary ecology for decades. Originally motivated by questions related to behavioural and reproductive adaptation to environmental conditions, the topic has acquired new relevance in the face of climate change. However, there has been relativel...
Article
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Bears are the largest terrestrial carnivores, and most bear species can be characterized as opportunistic omnivores. An infrequent foraging tactic for bears is cannibalism, where a bear consumes a conspecific individual, either through scavenging or following intraspecific predation. Although several reports of cannibalism events are known, no atte...
Article
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Selecting appropriate candidates for genetic rescue mostly relies on previous genetic research and monitoring, while ecological and behavioural traits of the remnant and source populations are rarely considered for such conservation measures. Because of their slow recovery, Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx populations in Central and Western Europe have been...
Poster
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The project focuses on interactions among wild felids in Europe and Africa, but also includes research on other aspects of felid ecology in other parts of the world. Project aims • Study patterns of avoidance and attraction among the selected species of cats in space and time • Obtain novel insights into indirect communication among different cats...
Preprint
ContextBehavioral adjustments by large carnivores can be a key factor facilitating their coexistence with people in shared landscapes. Landscape composition might be a key factor determining how large carnivores can adapt to occurring alongside humans, yet broad-scale analyses investigating adjustments of habitat use across large gradients of human...
Article
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Macroecological studies that require habitat suitability data for many species often derive this information from expert opinion. However, expert‐based information is inherently subjective and thus prone to errors. The increasing availability of GPS tracking data offers opportunities to evaluate and supplement expert‐based information with detailed...
Article
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The grey wolf (Canis lupus) persists in a variety of human-dominated landscapes and is subjected to various legal management regimes throughout Europe. Our aim was to assess the effects of intrinsic and methodological determinants on the hair cortisol concentration (HCC) of wolves from four European populations under different legal management. We...
Article
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Mammalian communities inhabiting temperate grasslands are of conservation concern globally, and especially in Central Asia, where livestock numbers have dramatically increased in recent decades, leading to overgrazing and land‐use change. Yet, how this pervasive presence of livestock herds affects the community of wild mammals remains largely unstu...
Article
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Movement is a fundamental process in animal ecology. For many species, such as large carnivores, movement patterns are greatly shaped by a combination of ecological and anthropogenic factors. Understanding how these factors impact the roaming capacity of large carnivores is essential to forecast risks and design long‐term conservation strategies. T...
Data
Regular assessments of species’ status are an essential component of conservation planning and adaptive management. They allow the progress of past or ongoing conservation actions to be evaluated and can be used to redirect and prioritise future conservation actions. Most countries perform periodic assessments for their own national adaptive manage...
Article
Habitat selection is a multi-scale process driven by trade-offs between benefits, such as resource abundance, and disadvantages, such as the avoidance of risk. The latter includes human disturbances, to which large carnivores, with their large spatial requirements, are especially sensitive. We investigated the ecological processes underlying multi-...
Article
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Automatic methods for detecting and delineating relief features allow remote and low-cost mapping, which has an outstanding potential for wildlife ecology and similar research. We applied a filled-DEM (digital elevation model) method using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data to automatically detect dolines and other karst depressions in a rugg...
Article
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The snow leopard Panthera uncia is an elusive and globally-threatened apex predator occurring in the mountain ranges of central Asia. As with other large carnivores, gaps in data on its distribution and abundance still persist. Moreover, available density estimates are often based on inadequate sampling designs or analytical approaches. Here, we us...
Article
Full-text available
Successful conservation depends on accurate taxonomy. Currently, the taxonomy of canids in Africa, Eurasia and Australasia is unstable as recent molecular and morphological studies have questioned earlier phenetic classifications. We review available information on several taxa of Old World and Australasian Canis with phylogenetic uncertainties (na...
Article
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Introduction to the broad public of the InterMuc Project in Namibia
Article
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Species assemblages often have a non‐random nested organization, which in vertebrate scavenger (carrion‐consuming) assemblages is thought to be driven by facilitation in competitive environments. However, not all scavenger species play the same role in maintaining assemblage structure, as some species are obligate scavengers (i.e., vultures) and ot...
Article
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What would successful deer management look like in Scotland? To some, flourishing populations of native wild deer represent success. But to others, negative impacts such as damage to woodlands and peatlands, agricultural and forestry losses, deer- vehicle collisions, and facilitating Lyme disease spread represent failure. Conflicting interests and...
Article
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Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx was reintroduced to the Dinaric Mountains in 1973 to bring back an extinct autochthonous keystone species, but also to enrich the hunting grounds. The institutions involved in the reintroduction were aware of the danger of genetic isolation and warned about the importance of connectivity between the lynx populations in the D...
Presentation
Full-text available
Globally, fragmented landscapes and anthropogenic pressures are causing steep declines in large carnivore populations. Conservation organizations are working to counteract these trends through the reintroduction of large carnivores and translocations within existing populations to promote gene flow and resilience. This study analyzes a dataset we g...
Article
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The project Status and Conservation of the Alpine Lynx Population SCALP is an ongoing programme aiming to coordinate the Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx monitoring, conservation and management activities in the Alps, but the monitoring approach has recently been expanded to the neighbouring Dinaric and Jura Mountains. The long-term goal of the SCALP is to...
Technical Report
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This summary reports the results from the »Spremljanje stanja ohranjenosti volkov v Sloveniji v sezoni 2020-2021« Project (Monitoring of Conservation Status of Wolves in Slovenia in 2020-2021 season). This is the fourth such project financed by the Slovenian Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning. The methods used in the project were deve...
Article
In countries such as Mongolia, where globalization of the cashmere market has spurred herders to massively increase their livestock numbers, an important conservation concern is the effect of livestock encroachment on wildlife. This is especially important inside protected areas (PAs), which often represent the last refugia for threatened large mam...
Article
Full-text available
Governments around the world invest considerable resources to reduce damages caused by large carnivores on human property. To use these investments more efficiently and effectively, we need to understand which interventions successfully prevent such damages and which do not. In the European Union, the LIFE program represents by far the largest fina...
Article
Organisms face numerous environmental stressors, which can affect developmental precision, including symmetry of various physical characteristics. Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) has therefore been suggested as a simple and efficient tool for assessing sub-lethal stress levels. We analyzed FA in two sympatric lizard species (Iberolacerta horvathi and Po...
Preprint
Governments around the world invest considerable resources to reduce damages caused by large carnivores on human property. To use these investments more efficiently and effectively, we need to understand which interventions successfully prevent such damages and which do not. In the European Union, the LIFE program represents by far the largest fina...
Article
Full-text available
The Horvath’s rock lizard Iberolacerta horvathi (Méhely, 1904) is an understudied lacertid species, which is geographically isolated from its congeners and currently classified as Near Threatened under IUCN red listing criteria. Due to its limited distribution and narrow environmental preferences, we expect that the species had been affected by pas...
Article
Full-text available
Worldwide, unsustainable use of nature threatens many ecosystems and the services they provide for a broad diversity of life, including humans. Yet, governments commonly claim that the best available science supports their policies governing extraction of natural resources. We confront this apparent paradox by assessing the complexity of the inters...
Article
Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are apex predators in Asian mountainous ecosystems, mostly hunting wild and domestic ungulates up to three times their size. Here we report on a predation event of a male snow leopard killing a semi-domestic adult yak (about five times the body weight of the predator) from the Altai mountain range in Mongolia. We used...
Article
Full-text available
Scent-marking is a predominant form of communication among felids, with urine spraying having a key role. Detectability and longevity of scent marks are recognized as crucial for efficiency of scent-marking, but there is limited research that has tested scent persistence with respect to various environmental factors. We used an experimental framewo...
Article
Full-text available
Aim The recent recovery of large carnivores in Europe has been explained as resulting from a decrease in human persecution driven by widespread rural land abandonment, paralleled by forest cover increase and the consequent increase in availability of shelter and prey. We investigated whether land cover and human population density changes are relat...
Article
While scavenging has been repeatedly reported for several felid species, surprisingly little information is available on scavenging behavior of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris). To fill this knowledge gap, we used camera traps to document scavenging behavior at the 48 experimentally-set deer carcasses at random locations throughout the year....
Article
Full-text available
The encounter rates carnivores have with prey are dependent on spatial and temporal overlap, and are often highest with their preferred prey. Sumatran tigers Panthera tigris sumatrae are critically endangered and dependent on prey populations, but little is known about their prey preferences. We collected 7 years of camera trapping data from Bukit...
Article
Full-text available
Grey wolf (Canis lupus) populations are expanding across Europe, which leads to increase in their interactions with people and domestic animals, including dogs. Attacks on hunting dogs are becoming a major cause for conflicts between wolves and hunters in many countries, including Croatia, where this conflict has increased dramatically in recent ye...
Article
Full-text available
Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is a crepuscular-nocturnal carnivore and mostly spends daytime resting. Although resting sites represent an important part of the lynx habitat and can be negatively affected by human activities, it is still poorly known how lynx select these sites, especially in regions with rugged topography characteristic for much of the...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This project report describes the current progress of the reinforcement of the lynx population in the Dinaric Mountains and Southeastern (SE) Alps as part of the LIFE Lynx project (LIFE16 NAT/SI/000634). It represents the results of the first comprehensive transboundary lynx survey in this region, covering the lynx population distribution in Sloven...
Article
Full-text available
The occurrence of carnivore species in wolf diet has been overlooked and poorly studied despite the potential implications for wolf ecology and wildlife management. We conducted an extensive literature review, focusing on 120 wolf diet studies worldwide to assess global patterns of carnivore consumption by wolves and their ecological and human-rela...
Chapter
Large carnivores, such as brown bears (Ursus arctos), wolves (Canis lupus), and tigers (Panthera tigris), can play a key ecological role from their apex position in trophic systems. Within the overall context of bottom-up and top-down regulation of ecosystems, predation by large carnivores often induces demographic and behavioral changes in prey sp...
Chapter
Full-text available
Conflicts between humans and bears have occurred since prehistory. Through time, the catalogue of human–bear conflicts (HBC) has been changing depending on the values and needs of human societies and their interactions with bears. Even today, conflict situations vary among the eight species of bears and geographically across these species’ ranges....
Chapter
This chapter comprises the following sections: names, taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, movements and home range, activity patterns, feeding ecology, reproduction and growth, behavior, parasites and diseases, status in the wild, and status in captivity.
Chapter
The media and scientific literature are increasingly reporting an escalation of large carnivore attacks on humans, mainly in the so-called developed countries, such as Europe and North America. Although large carnivore populations have generally increased in developed countries, increased numbers are not solely responsible for the observed rise in...
Article
Full-text available
Large carnivore conservation is important for ecosystem integrity and understanding drivers of their abundance is essential to guide conservation efforts. Leopard (Panthera pardus) populations are in a general state of decline, although local studies demonstrated large variation in their population trends and density estimates vary widely across th...
Article
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Kill rates of predators typically increase when they come into contact with naïve and abundant prey. Such a situation can lead to surplus killing or the occurrence of parallel kills (i.e. additional kills that predator makes while still consuming the carcass from the previous kill). However, there is limited information on the feeding behaviour of...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge about breeding biology is often incomplete in species with complex reproductive strategies. The brown bear Ursus arctos is a polygamous seasonal breeder inhabiting a wide variety of habitats and environmental conditions. We compiled information about brown bear breeding season dates from 36 study areas across their distribution range in t...
Article
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The organization of ecological assemblages has important implications for ecosystem functioning, but little is known about how scavenger communities organize at the global scale. Here, we test four hypotheses on the factors affecting the network structure of terrestrial vertebrate scavenger assemblages and its implications on ecosystem functioning....
Article
Full-text available
Evidence-based management of large carnivores is a crucial step towards their effective conservation. However, monitoring of these populations is demanding and generally requires substantial fieldwork effort. Lately, citizen science has become an increasingly important part of wildlife monitoring, but can that endanger studied species? In this pape...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid and widespread biodiversity losses around the world make it important to survey and monitor endangered species, especially in biodiversity hotspots. Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP) is one of the largest conserved areas on the island of Sumatra, and is important for the conservation of many threatened species. Sumatran tigers (Pant...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Eurasian lynx is the largest felid in Europe, where many populations still face extinction. Major threats include poaching, inbreeding depression, vehicle collisions, habitat loss and fragmentation. To preserve viability of these populations, further efforts are required, including an efficient monitoring that represents an important part of any su...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial and foraging ecology of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) has been well recognized, however due to the distinct taxonomic position and geographic isolation of its Balkan population, it is important to learn and compare its ecology to other populations of this felid. Therefore, the paper offers the first ever investigation into the spatial and f...
Book
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Investigations into the cultural significance of that most familiar and charismatic group of animals, bears. Bears are iconic animals, playing a variety of roles in human culture. The essays collected here provide a rich selection of views on the human/bear relationships. They explore how bears are an influence in contemporary art, and how they are...
Article
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The evolutionary relationships between extinct and extant lineages provide important insight into species’ response to environmental change. The grey wolf is among the few Holarctic large carnivores that survived the Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions, responding to that period’s profound environmental changes with loss of distinct lineages an...
Chapter
Full-text available
Europe is densely populated and extensive wilderness areas are almost non-existent. Nevertheless, we share the continent with roughly 17,000 brown bears (Ursus arctos) in what is considered an example of the coexistence model. In contrast to the separation model, where bears and people are kept apart, the coexistence model promotes sharing of the s...