In wide ranging species, portions of the same population often fall within different administrative jurisdictions; where different regulations apply. The same species can be fully protected or heavily harvested on different sides of a border. This can generate a source–sink dynamic from the areas with lower to those with higher mortality, a process known as compensatory immigration. We tested this hypothesis on the wolverine (Gulo gulo) population of southern Scandinavia, which is shared between two countries: Sweden and Norway. Wolverines are fully protected in Sweden, but subject to intensive population regulation in Norway. Using non-invasive genetic sampling and capture–recapture modeling, we analyzed the dynamics of wolverine survival and emigration patterns between 2002 and 2013. Wolverines in Norway experienced a lower survival than in Sweden. Migration across the national border was directed towards movements from Sweden to Norway. There was a functional relationship between harvest rate in Norway and emigration rates across the national border, both at the individual and population level, thus confirming the compensatory immigration hypothesis. Contrasting management regimes within the same population can generate undesired demographic and spatial dynamics, jeopardize conservation goals on the two sides of a border, and reduce the efficiency of management actions. This calls for the adoption of a coordinate population approach in large carnivore conservation and management. Failing to do so can cause a waste of the already limited resources allocated for large carnivore conservation, and it might hinder effective conflict mitigation.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2015
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