Reštitúcia sysľa pasienkového (Spermophilus citellus) na Slovensku [Restitution of the European Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) in Slovakia]
Michal Ambros, Alena Jančová, Ivan Baláž
The first transfer of European ground squirrels (Spermophilus citellus) in Slovakia was carried out in 1992–1993. Until now, restitution of ground squirrel populations has been successful at two localities (Kuchyňa and Biele Vody). The following prerequisites have to be met for successful restitution: release of a high number of individuals (about 500) during several consecutive years (on average 5 years) in an adequate habitat and continuous monitoring and protection of the ground squirrel population. The individuals used for restitution were captured at airports (M. R. Štefánik Airport in Bratislava and the Košice Airport). In case of future extinction of the colonies at the airports, captive breeding of ground squirrels is very important for next restitution projects. Therefore captive breeding of the species was established in the Bojnice zoo in 2007. Altogether 15 individuals were brought to the zoo and the first successful reproduction was observed in spring 2008. During several years of captures and observation we found 3 species of Eulipotyphla, 5 species of Rodentia, 1 species of Lagomorpha and 5 species of Carnivora on a grassy area at the M. R. Štefánik airport in Bratislava. The occurrence of the solitarily living common hamster (Cricetus cricetus) with colonial ground squirrel is remarkable. The coexistence of two similar species of predators (Mustela eversmanni and M. putorius) is also interesting.