The Tatra chamois is a unique subspecies of mountain antelope in immediate danger of extinction (it is listed as “critically endangered” in the IUCN Red Data Book). There is an ongoing argument about whether the rapid population decline is due to predation, particularly by wolves and less so by bears, or brought about by other reasons such as human impact and/or global climate change.
Decision-makers currently favour the ‘decline by large predators theory’ and efforts are under way to increase hunting quotas for large predators, supposedly to reduce pressure on the chamois. Scientists in Slovakia, however, have strong reasons to believe that poaching by legal hunters and some other insufficiently studied reasons (e.g. inbreeding depression) are the actual cause of the chamois decline. This expedition will gather vital data crucial to the conservation of the chamois and in the prevention of large-scale hunting of predators such as the wolf and bear.