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The EuroLargeCarnivores project team met, discussed and collaborated with more than three thousand people living and working with large carnivores. We have tried to learn from everyone we encountered about the challenges involved: from the overworked damage inspector showing us over one thousand photographs of livestock carcasses, to government officials scrambling to work out how to best implement the EU Habitats Directive, the shepherd in a panic after a wolf pack attacked his livestock at nightfall and the scientist struggling for decades to convince their colleagues across the border to use the same monitoring protocol. These are just a few examples. 

We acknowledge that a lot has improved in EU large carnivore conservation in recent years. One of the most prominent changes is the availability of EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds to cover the cost of livestock damage prevention measures, especially since nomadic shepherd’s salaries can be covered as High Nature Value farming from 2022 on. 

Several projects have formulated reasonable and justified recommendations in the past decade, yet these have not always been implemented for various reasons. Our recommendations are to focus on actions that are easily achievable but will have the biggest impact according to our experiences from during the project period. We have grouped them by target institution, ranging from local field level to the EU-LIFE Programme, subnational European Regions, Member State level and finally the European Commission. There are recommendations that appear to be relevant at several levels.


EuroLargeCarnivores recommends that the EU-LIFE Programme and future projects


  1. - request and ensure proactive systematic identification and eyelevel give-and-take engagement of people of diverse backgrounds/viewpoints in carnivore-related projects
  2. request training in mediation and conflict mitigation for administration personnel

  3. - request and provide capacity for external moderation of potentially conflictual meetings/processes

  4. - directly make use of local (public) support instruments to engage pioneers and for exemplary best management practices and techniques in large carnivore conservation (e.g. enabling livestock keepers to use High Nature Value agriculture funds theoretically available through the CAP)1

  5. - ensure that governmental agencies continue to prioritize pioneer support for accompanying hands-on consultancy and implementation over costly and time-limited giveaway schemes for demonstration measures (the latter may cause frustration and envy among those who would like to replicate the approach but do not receive the same material)

  6. - request and provide for continuous support for further development, updates and public accessibility of the fact-based information already available 2

  7. - request, plan, provide for and publish results of impact studies five and ten years after project termination (requires a baseline survey, measurable project-related targets, retaining raw data, e.g. names of people that participated in the project)


EuroLargeCarnivores recommends that the European Regions:


  1. - call for appropriate regional plans in the current CAP for livestock damage prevention measures for their farmers (electric fencing, livestock guarding dogs, shepherds) 

  2. - provide their farmers with damage prevention extension services offered by authorities and information services on the financial support available to reach high-quality coverage of damage prevention

  3. - set transparent targets for damage prevention coverage (e.g. 50% of sheep on pastures are protected with quality electric fencing) and randomly inspect the quality of damage prevention measures implemented in the region 

  4. - evaluate the effective implementation of protection measures for every livestock damage case file

  5. - where it is not yet standard, make financial compensation of damages caused by LC conditional on previous implementation of preventative measures with adequate advance information and transition periods

  6. - adapt, implement and improve the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)3 applied by sister regions to the governmental processes required with large carnivore presence

  7. - proactively cooperate with all other stakeholders involved in implementing damage prevention measures and their financing (e.g. spatial planning authorities, land-use management authorities, local action groups)

  8. - make large carnivore biology, damage prevention measures and species guidance document4 obligatory components of hunter curricula if possible 

  9. - facilitate their staff meeting and exchanging information with their counterparts in all neighboring European regions, inside a Member State and across Member States

  10. - show readiness to engage in meaningful participatory processes and ensure that citizens are not just invited to listen to what authorities are ready to share but are allowed to collaborate and contribute

  11. - develop and implement training programs on communication and mediation for employees of regional and local administrations/institutions working on large carnivore topics and acquire professional moderation services if situations appear to escalate


EuroLargeCarnivores recommends that the Member States:
  1. - have monitoring of large carnivores implemented by government agencies or formally endorsed organizations (instead of project-based groups that meet infrequently) as it is done in some countries

  2. - develop a population-based large carnivore management system that is implemented in a coordinated manner with neighboring countries

  3. - foresee in their CAP National Strategic Plans adequate funding for livestock damage prevention methods and set livestock damage prevention coverage targets

  4. - make large carnivore biology, damage prevention measures and species guidance obligatory components of hunter curricula if possible 

  5. - ensure that the species guidance document is implemented - particularly in regard to illegal killings and wolf derogations

  6. - stipulate frequent peer-to-peer exchanges across neighboring European regions (working lines, livestock guarding dog breeders, cattle breeders, administration, park rangers, professional hunters, etc.)

  7. - bi-annually publish current species information on large carnivore presence and coexistence (status, measures, financial support provided for damage prevention measures, etc.) 

  8. - develop and implement training programs on communication and mediation for employees of regional and local administrations/institutions working on large carnivore topics, and acquire professional moderation services if situations appear to escalate


EuroLargeCarnivores recommends that the European Commission
  1. - creates a dedicated staff position to (a) institutionalize the annual compilation of livestock damages at municipality level, their publication and (b) monitor and publish the availability status and use of CAP funding for prevention measures as per the briefing note

  2. - maintains a presence (e.g. as part of Large Carnivore Platform workshops) in the European regions with particularly negative results or showing a particularly negative trend, in the above analyses of livestock damage, or in terms of CAP funding for prevention measures 

  3. - promotes SOPs to the Member States and European Regions and encourages their adaptation, implementation and improvement

  4. - promotes and supports population-level, cross-border management of large carnivores

  5. - continues to evaluate whether Member States are following species guidelines, in particular with regard to illegal killing and derogations




see briefing note: Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform and large carnivore coexistence measures https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/carnivores/pdf/EU_Platform_CAP_and_LC_June_21.pdf

2  Eg. www.eurolargecarnivores.eu/en/factsheets 

3  A selection of which has been provided by the project eurolargecarnivores.eu/en/sops

4  https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=PI_COM:C(2021)7301 




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