Animal population unchanged even without hunting
The animal population in a 2,250-hectare area in the Carinthian part of the Hohe Tauern National Park, in which red deer have not been hunted since 1991 and chamois have only been hunted to a small extent, has hardly changed. "No noticeable changes in deer and chamois" is the core statement of the interim report presented by the WWF and the Munich Wildlife Society on March 16, 1998 in Mallnitz. Despite the cessation of hunting in the Lassacher Alpe/Seebachtal district, there has been no dramatic increase in the chamois population, epidemics or major damage to the game, emphasized the animal rights activists. While red deer are no longer hunted at all, six chamois are shot per year according to the final plan. Before 1991 there were around 40.
There are currently around 350 chamois in the WWF area. This population provides an annual "surplus" of about 60 animals that would migrate to other areas, the WWF emphasized. However, final conclusions will only be drawn after the end of the observation in the year 2000.
In 1997, 42 deer were counted in the district, six fewer than in the previous year, but three more than in 1995. The number of female animals remained unchanged. In total there are between 60 and 70 red deer that gather in the high alpine Seebachtal during the summer. However, according to the WWF, they leave the snowy area for the rut at the end of September and move to lower-lying regions.
"There are no indications that there will be any problems due to the cessation of hunting in the foreseeable future," concludes the WWF. The model project also represents an essential building block in the international recognition of the national park. Since the start of the project in 1991, the WWF has set up a further nine wildlife sanctuaries in the Hohe Tauern, which have been leased from the national park.