Improving Coexistence with Large Carnivores in Europe


The status of large carnivores in Europe varies widely depending on region and species. As diverse as the landscapes are that wolf, lynx, bear and wolverine return to, as divergent are the reactions of local communities living there.

In the last decade only, an increase of over 25% of wolf range has been reported in Europe. With the return and range expansion of large carnivores come different emotions among the people living in the neighborhood of the animals, ranging from fear to elation. 

The presence of large carnivores often invokes polarized discussions, even expanding the polarization to other underlying social challenges, and quickly escalating to highly political exchanges. An objective space for fact-grounded discussions is as needed, as the implementation of cost-effective and long-term management solutions.


The project aimed at providing a platform to gather and share knowledge on human-large carnivore coexistence among various stakeholders across the European Union. The diverse approaches to managing social, economic and ecological challenges have been made widely available, as well as good practice in transboundary cooperation. Topics like monitoring, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and prevention, the discussion of fears and safety concerns, herding practices, but also poaching, economic opportunities and investment requirements were the focus of this LIFE project. 

Large Carnivores in Europe

The population trends of bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine are as varied as the reasons for their recovery. A favorable conservation status (defined by the EU Habitats Directive) and associated conservation measures contribute to this development, however, social phenomena such as urbanisation and associated changes in land use practices are potentially having an even greater impact. 

🐺 ~ 17.000 wolves

🐻 ~ 17.000 brown bears

🐱  ~ 8.000 Eurasian lynx 

🐱  ~ 500 Iberian lynx 

🦨 ~ 1.250 wolverines

For up to date numbers of large carnivore distribution in Europe please refer to:  

Project Information

💰 Budget: 6 M € (3.6 M of which EU)

Project length: 2017 – 2022

Project Implementation & Participation

WWF Germany was coordinating the project that includes 16 partners. The majority of the partners were international WWF offices together with the Forest Research Institute of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Eliante in Italy, and the Elmauer Institute


Name & WebsiteType
World Wide Fund For Nature GermanyCoordinator
World Wide Fund for Nature AustriaParticipant
World Wide Fund for Nature SwitzerlandParticipant
World Wide Fund for Nature FinlandParticipant
eimc2 GmbH elmauer institute managing consensus 2, GermanyParticipant
Forstliche Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt Baden-Württemberg, GERParticipant
WWF Világ Természeti Alap Magyarország Alapítvány, HungaryParticipant
WWF Mediterranean Foundation, ItalyParticipant
Società Cooperativa Sociale Eliante Onlus, ItalyParticipant
World Wide Fund for Nature Poland – Fundacja WWF Polska, Participant
WWF Programul Dunare Carpati Romania, Participant
World Wide Fund for Nature Adria, CroatiaParticipant
WWF Central European Eastern Programme, AustriaParticipant

Within the project, we worked together with a variety of stakeholders and exchanged knowledge beyond borders.