The aim of the study was to evaluate arguments for hunting and its impact on forest management and conservation in national parks as well as areas directly adjacent to them. The issue was examined using the example of the Magura National Park (MNP) for which data on the number of deer and predatory mammals included in the statistical yearbooks for 2013–2014 were available. The quality and size of the food sources provided by this type of forest habitat were evaluated using data obtained from the literature. We also included data on the dietary habits of wolves and lynxes as well as their impact on the number of large ungulates in our analysis. The maximum carrying capacity of forest stands in the Magura National Park was determined to be 789 deer units (dear unit = 1 red deer or 0,3 elk or 5 roe deer), whereas in fact in 2014, the abundance of ungulates reached a total of 1230 deer units. Our analysis evaluating the impact of wolf and lynx populations on ungulates in the area showed that these predators can kill up to 212 deer per year (140 individuals by wolves and 72 by lynxes). The growth in deer population, however, varies from 25,8% to 27,7%, which in the MNP amounts to 258–277 new born individuals per year, meaning that the wolf and lynx populations in the MNP are not able to prevent the number of deer from growing. The current population of ungulates (1230 deer units ) having reached a density of 6,6 deer units/km2 exceeds the capacity of the MNP and thus poses a real threat to maintaining both, the nature of the park and the adjacent stands. This article shows that the natural maintenance of balance in the predator-prey relationship is unlikely under these conditions and failure to allow for anthropogenic interference to regulate the number of ungulates in protected areas may result in an increase in the density of their population. Potential destruction of other valuable assets such as forest habitats may consequently follow.
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