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November 2020 Carnivore Damage Prevention News

LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores is happy to announce the new issue of the Carnivore Damage Prevention newsletter.

Carnivore Damage Prevention News (CDPNews) is a professional newsletter focused on the complex challenges presented by the coexistence of large carnivores and human activities. It acts as a forum to raise awareness of practical solutions, to facilitate collaboration among researchers, policy makers, agricultural consultants, hunters and farmers and to improve knowledge exchange between countries as well as across the boundaries of traditional disciplines. CDPnews aims to con-tribute to the application of evidence-based knowledge which can be used for the benefit of livestock farmers and to inform wildlife management policy.


Exchange of experiences with grazing livestock farming in the Dessau wolf area

Pasture owner Swen Keller explains to the participants and Minister of the Environment Claudia Dalbert his herd protection measures. © WWF Germany

Grazing livestock owner Swen Keller explains his herd protection measures to participants and the Minister for the Environment Claudia Dalbert. ©WWF Germany

As part of the Life Project Euro Large Carnivores, WWF Germany invited participants to an excursion on the topic of fence construction and grazing livestock farming in Diebzig. The aim of the event was to give affected grazing livestock owners and politicians an insight into the situation of grazing livestock owners and to present practical solutions to wolf-animal conflicts.

Grazing livestock owner Swen Keller lives and works in the wolf area in Saxony-Anhalt mentioned above. He has been protecting his sheep and cattle from wolf attacks with the help of fences and dogs for years. The group visited one of his pastures on land owned by WWF Germany at the Elbdeich (Elbe dyke) in Lödderitz to look at and discuss the herd protection measures in use.

Around 40 livestock owners and stakeholders from state parliaments, the EU Parliament and the German Bundestag discussed perspectives on wolves and livestock farming in the Central European cultural landscape and current herd protection challenges and solutions were explained. The event was held under the patronage of Saxony-Anhalt's Minister for the Environment, Prof. Dr. Claudia Dalbert.


February 2020 Carnivore Damage Prevention News

LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores is happy to announce a new issue of the Carnivore Damage Prevention newsletter which is partly funded by the project for the next two years.

Carnivore Damage Prevention News (CDPNews) is a professional newsletter focused on the complex challenges presented by the coexistence of large carnivores and human activities. It acts as a forum to raise awareness of practical solutions, to facilitate collaboration among researchers, policy makers, agricultural consultants, hunters and farmers and to improve knowledge exchange between countries as well as across the boundaries of traditional disciplines. CDPnews aims to con-tribute to the application of evidence-based knowledge which can be used for the benefit of livestock farmers and to inform wildlife management policy.


Successful Livestock Damage Prevention Conference Salzburg 2020

From January 21-23th 2020 the LIFE Project EuroLargeCarnivores together with AGRIDEA (Swiss Association for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas), the Bundesverband Berufsschäfer e.V., the EU PLATFORM ON COEXISTENCE BETWEEN PEOPLE AND LARGE CARNIVORES and the European Landowners Organization invited to an international conference on livestock protection in the Alpine region at the Heffterhof in Salzburg.

More than 200 participants used this platform to exchange perspectives with a wide range of experts and practitioners from Austria and abroad. Around 40 speakers from the USA and Europe presented solutions for coexistence with wolves. Showcase projects in livestock protection informed about funding opportunities and the practical implementation of conflict mitigation measures such as electric fences and livestock guarding dogs.

For further information please email us at info@eurolargecarnivores.eu


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, Romania and Ukraine, 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.



Conference on Livestock Protection in the Alpine Region

Banner Conference

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.


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.


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).


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.




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.



LifeLynx Project: Path of the Lynx Premiere

The LIFE Ly nx project is pleased to collaborate with EuroLargeCarnivores and to share one of our newest efforts. Below is the trailor of our new film, Path of the Lynx (also available here https://www.lifelynx.eu/

This documentary traces the historic efforts of hunters and foresters during the 1970s to reintroduce Eurasian lynx to the Dinaric mountains. The film premiered this summer in Slovenia and Croatia and has been shown at multiple film festivals. Path of the Lynx was recently awarded best of film at the Jamnarkult Film Festival in Slovenia in late August.

They will make the film publicly available via a host of social media platforms in January-2019. Additionally, the LifeLynx team will provide EuroLargeCarnivores with a unique look at this historic effort through the eyes Maks Konečnik, a prominent Slovenian hunter who took part in the effort.


Baseline Survey Large Carnivores in Europe 2018

This survey is distributed in 12 European countries. We are asking rural and city people, livestock farmers, hunters, nature conservationists, politicians and everybody else who wants to contribute to understanding challenges and expectations, and collecting new ideas and proven solutions. We ask how you see the current situation of large carnivores in Europe, your level of engagement in the topic and your suggestions for how to improve the situation. We  also ask some personal questions to be able to compare your views with the perspectives of interest groups in different countries. All your responses, information and data will be treated anonymously according to the EU Privacy Policy, and will only be analysed and reported upon only in the aggregated form of all survey submissions.

It will take 20-30 minutes to answer all questions. Please take your time, and feel free to fill in only those questions you feel comfortable with.

Thank you for your contribution!

Go to survey >


Towards a European Wolf Plan

At the EP Inter-parliamentary conference "Defend pastoralism: towards a European Wolf Plan", Commissioner Vella held a speech and emphasized the fact that achieving coexistence with large carnivores in the EU is a strategic priority of our Nature policy. The return of the wolf might be a disruptive factor for some - including the sheep farming industry. The Commission identified the challenges for the sheep and goat sectors and provides several different types of support to help Member States and the sector address these problems with the current Common Agricultural Policy. These include direct payments, voluntary coupled support, payments for Areas with Natural Constraints and other rural development measures. Furthermore the Commission supports communication and exchange within Europe, for example with the EuroLargeCarnivores project.

Read full speech


Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist?

Rob Wielgus was one of America’s pre-eminent experts on large carnivores. Then he ran afoul of the enemies of the wolf. Go to article 

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