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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.

More information about the project

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Here you will find stories of cohabitation from all over Europe

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News

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.

 

 

07.02.2019

Launch of communications & mediation trainings

28-30 Jan 2019 – Our first communications & mediation training for representatives and main actors in the area of large carnivores took place in Innsbruck, Austria. Twenty-four participants from different interest groups such as nature protection services, agriculture, veterinary medicine, forestry and hunting associations and NGOs attended the three-day workshop. We discussed the nature and extent of existing conflict, the relationships of the various actors, and possible causes for conflicts. The goal was to improve (conflict) communication skills and collaboration to benefit large carnivore conservation. In this case, this specifically applied to wolf conflicts in Tyrol, Austria. We trained the local conservation and management actors in consensus-oriented approaches and motivated them to create new ideas and strategies for future activities in this local area. It was the first of 16 communications & mediation trainings all over Europe. The next trainings will follow in spring 2019 in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Germany.

 

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