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Improving coexistence with large carnivores in Europe

through communication, cross-border cooperation and the exchange of knowledge.

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What do we do

The purpose of this LIFE project is to provide a discussion space for people to share and learn about experiences of managing the presence of large carnivores.  This includes various approaches across Europe, and aims to highlight the associated social, economic and ecological challenges. Topics include monitoring, conflict mitigation, damage prevention, security concerns, long-term effects on agriculture and hunting, management practices, as well as assisted economic opportunities.

We invite everyone to share their experiences with us.

 

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News

12.12.2019

Workshop on harmonizing the monitoring of large carnivores in the Carpathians

28 November 2019

From 25 to 28 November specialists from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, Hungary and Romania, as well as Italy and Austria, met in Coltes in the Romanian Carpathians to start a scientific exchange about large carnivore monitoring. The international workshop was organized by WWF Romania and the Carpathian Convention Secretariat with the aim to set ground for a coherent and standardized monitoring system in the Carpathian region. The meeting was facilitated by LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores as one of the core actions within the project with the idea to identify and promote best-practices and encourage the development of joint monitoring plans on population level.

The 35 experts presented case studies and best practices in monitoring bear, wolf and lynx populations in their countries. These set the stage for a fruitful discussion about the best approach for monitoring methods and activities on the national and the regional level. "We want to harmonize the monitoring system, which is a complex issue starting from the definition of monitoring. How to deal with all that data produced with different methods, how to interpret that data? Who is responsible for the monitoring, public institutions or NGOs? Who will finance it? We need stability in financing and methodology. Hopefully we will be able to make some progress" , stated Bożena Haczek, from the Ministry of Climate in Poland. The participants agreed to properly address the raised questions in the next years and to establish a system that is capable to provide reliable scientific data about the distribution, population trends, connectivity and challenges for the species. A final report will compile results and recommendations from at least three regions of Europe with large populations of bears, wolves or lynx.

The participants also generated and discussed innovative ideas for two likewise important topics - ecological connectivity and transboundary cooperation to fight illegal killings. These issues will also be key points of an “Action Plan on Large Carnivores Conservation in the Carpathians”, a strategic document set up by the Carpathian Convention Secretariat and its Working Group on Biodiversity due to be adapted in October 2020 at COP6 in Poland. All three topics – monitoring, transboundary cooperation and fighting illegal killings – are steps towards coexistence and the implementation of the developed methods will be part of this LIFE project in the next years.

 

18.11.2019

Conference on Livestock Protection in the Alpine Region

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The paths of large carnivores do not respect national borders. It is therefore even more important, that people from the affected regions and from different European nations meet and exchange views. When the wilderness enters livestock areas, action must be taken. But which have proven themselves? Are there any new insights? We are inviting to an international conference on "Protection of Livestock from Large Carnivores - Focus on Wolves" in Salzburg this coming January. It is intended to be a forum for the knowledge and experience of a wide variety of stakeholders. Find out more.

25.09.2019

FVA Stakeholder Report

This document reports the activities and results obtained within the Preparatory Action #A2 “Stakeholder Analysis” of the LIFE Project EUROLARGECARNIVORES (LIFE16 GIE/DE/000661 - B1) “Improving human coexistence with large carnivores in Europe through communication and transboundary cooperation”. A participatory stakeholder identification process in all partner countries was followed by fourteen facilitated stakeholder-mapping workshops. The regional project partners conducted the process in the local languages, with methodological and coordinative support by the Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg (FVA), Germany. The preliminary report was submitted in December 2018, this final version was provided to WWF D in April 2019.

The comparative Stakeholder Network Analysis shows that the composition and quality of the stakeholder networks as well as the degree of interconnectivity with the project partners differ substantially. One most important result is the country specific inhomogeneity of stakeholder groups, often perceived as homogenous by outsiders, requires special attention in further project activities. The Network Analysis also reveals indirect positive relations between different stakeholder groups and the potentially important role of commonly trusted actors. These findings offer starting points for strengthening the functionality of stakeholder networks for conflict mitigation and for developing new strategies for future project partners’ activities.

Recommendations are formulated for three crucial topics: 1) Approaches to broaden and strengthen the stakeholder networks, 2) Starting Points for Conflict Mitigation, and 3) Hotpots in stakeholder engagement: Local People, Wolf (Damage) Experts, Poachers, (Conflicting) Ministries and Administrations, Tourism, Infrastructure, and Media.

We are currently preparing a scientific publication to Frontiers of Ecology including findings presented in this report.

22.05.2019

Coexistence is possible: European perspectives on managing human-large carnivore conflicts published

Exchange of reliable data and transfer of know-how across borders are key to managing coexistence with wolves, bears, lynxes & co.

23 May 2019 – Today WWF and its partners publish a report that analyses the different perspectives of people living and working with large carnivores across Europe. The report provides insights from several round table workshops that have brought together diverse stakeholder groups across 14 countries to discuss the challenges and solutions of sharing one environment with large carnivores. Farmers, foresters, hunters, conservationists, researchers, representatives from public authorities, politicians and others have identified solutions together to improve conservation management practices and to reduce the potential for economic losses. Based on these findings, the report makes a series of recommendations that could improve human-large carnivore coexistence.

Stakeholders across all focus areas were mainly concerned about the lack of timely, reliable, and trusted information regarding large carnivores–particularly wolves, about a perceived lack of leadership by government authorities, about the economic impacts of livestock losses, and the expense of obtaining and managing tools needed to prevent these losses. Concerns were also raised about media coverage of large carnivores compounded by the perception that this is often sensationalistic, prone to errors of fact, and tends to focus on extreme positions that polarize discussions.

Feedback clearly indicated that better information on large carnivores is essential across Europe. Stakeholders identified the need for platforms or forums to structure and improve the exchange of large carnivore management information among all interested parties. Additionally, stakeholders in all focus areas indicated that economic support to cover the costs of adopting prevention tools needs to be part of the solution, along with introducing compensation systems for livestock losses and improving the efficiency of those already in existence. In summary the main recommendations given are threefold and include improving large carnivore management by using the best available science across all countries, standardizing data and reporting protocols, sharing successful approaches, sharingtools in prevention and mitigation of conflicts and improving damage prevention and compensation systems. This needs to go along with enhancing governance by developing robust stakeholder platforms to improve collaboration, trust building and the exchange of reliable information among all stakeholders and improving communications by providing journalists with reliable sources of data and credible points of contact with various interest groups that provide accurate information an unbiased messaging. "Wolves, bears, lynxes and wolverines are making a tremendous comeback and are part of the European identity. Where people and large carnivores share the same landscapes, things might change. However, together with our project partners we are convinced that coexistence is possible if we are open to learning from each other and try to adapt to the new situation," emphasizes Moritz Klose, EuroLargeCarnivores Project Lead at WWF Germany, with reference to the report and the often heated discussions on this topic.

About the project
The LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores project is funded by the EU and aims to provide a platform for the exchange of best practice in the area of human-large carnivore coexistence among various stakeholders in the European Union. More than 16 countries cooperate and share knowledge and information across borders. This knowledge covers everything from different approaches to managing the social, economic and ecological challenges that come along with wolves, bears, lynxes and wolverines, to practical solutions such as livestock protection.

About the report
The “European Perspectives on Coexistence with Large Carnivores” report captures the perspectives of different stakeholders, the relationships among them and the types of challenges and solutions they identified. An extensive stakeholder engagement process was designed that used surveys and facilitated workshops across 14 countries and within 5 major focus areas of the project: the Alpine Region (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia), the Central European Region (Germany, Poland), the Carpathian Region (Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary), the Iberian Region (Portugal, Spain), and the Fenno-Scandinavian Region (Finland, Norway). This report provides the initial findings from this engagement and summarizes regional European perspectives about large carnivore management. It describes challenges and solutions at the regional level that have been identified in 2018 to improve conservation management practices and to reduce the potential for economic losses. It also makes a series of recommendations that could improve human-large carnivore coexistence. Download the report (web version; print version).

09.04.2019

Stakeholders roundtable kicks off in Italy

8-10 Apr 2019 – More than 20 representatives of relevant stakeholder groups are participating in the Italian stakeholder training table taking place in Vogogna, inside the Italian focus area in Piemonte.

The three-day training table is part of the B5 training acitivities of the EuroLargeCarnivore project and is aimed at those stakeholders in charge of managing and preserving wildlife, in particular local decision makers, conservation experts, monitoring and surveillance bodies, opinion makers and local associations.

The general focus of the training table is about the human dimension of the controversial relationship between large carnivores and human activities. Innovative methodologies and tools are presented by Eliante’s participation experts in order to improve communication and collaboration among stakeholders. In this training the group of participants wants to:

•    analyse the point the group is starting from
•    assess the best ways to involve all stakeholders during the process
•    propose techniques to understand stakeholders’ different priorities and develop empathy towards others
•    increase the understanding of conflict dynamics and negotiation mechanisms
•    define a shared action program

More trainings in spring 2019 took and take place in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Germany.

 

 

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Events

2020

21.01.-23.01.2020 13:00

International Conference Livestock Protection in the Alpine Region
Salzburg, AT Add to calendar Get more details

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