Out of the 33 populations of European large carnivores, only four can be found within a single country, implying that 88% are trans-boundary in nature. Some of the populations span as many as eight EU member states. Given that legislations, socio-economic conditions, management approaches, acceptance levels, protection status and many other parameters differ (sometimes very strongly) among countries, introducing population level management and conservation methods can be a challenge. This problem is rooted in the lack of coordinated action and insufficient communication among conservation actors, authorities and stakeholders in different countries. The project will establish instruments to help overcome the following main barriers to transboundary cooperation:
- A lack of awareness of conservation actors, local and national authorities of the importance of communicating, coordinating management and monitoring large carnivores;
- A gap in the communication capacity of the aforementioned actors;
- A lack of knowledge on how to reduce human-wildlife conflicts and how to maximise the benefits that large carnivores bring, such as the ecological role they play and heir socio-economic impact; and
- A lack of regional, national and Europe-wide exchange on best practices among affected communities, stakeholders and authorities (e.g. livestock protection measures, tourism concepts).
Therefore LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores has two main goals: First, understand, document and share how humans and large carnivores currently coexist in areas across Europe. Second, make a contribution towards coexistence in key regions across Europe. The project is implementing a wide array of actions in 16 EU member states, including Croatia and Slovenia.
Activity in Slovenia:
The project team operates from WWF Adria’s Zagreb office and there is no dedicated personnel in Slovenia, which sometimes poses a challenge. Because of that, and a number of other active actors dealing with coexistence with large carnivores in Slovenia, the implementation is focused a bit more on Croatian populations of large carnivores.
Never the less, all of the core actions are implemented in Slovenia too. Some of the examples follow:
- In scope of action A2 (Stakeholder Analysis) a stakeholder workshop was held on 12.6.2018 in Cerknica with eleven stakeholders. Similar workshops were held in other partner countries which resulted with “European Perspectives on Coexistence with Large Carnivores” document (attached). The document analyses the different perspectives of people living and working with large carnivores across Europe. 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. 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. Relevant parts of the document are going to be translated to Slovenian language and disseminated to relevant actors and stakeholders.
- In scope of action B5 (Train local conservation and management actors in consensus oriented approaches) a communication training is going to be held in February of 2020 led by Elmauer Institute and facilitated by Aleksandra Majić Skrbinšek from Biotechnical faculty of University of Ljubljana. The training is going to help all of stakeholders involved in large carnivores’ management in Slovenia to communicate more efficiently in future and will serve as a basis for further communication efforts and offer ideas for local context solutions that will be supported further through action B6 (Motivate and Engage stakeholders in continuous exchange activities).
- Currently an online survey on attitudes towards large carnivores in Slovenia is being carried out in scope of action C1 (Comparative stakeholder analysis "before" and "after"). At the moment around 180 people took the survey.
- Currently a Slovenian adaptation of WWF Germany’s “Living with wolves - Questions from the domains of agriculture, forestry, hunting, tourism and politics” guide is in progress. It is intended to serve as a source of information for everyone to help understand the wolf and it will be published in December 2019 and disseminated with help of local partners in Slovenia.
- Other key project outputs are also going to be translated, such as Miha Krofel’s Overview of LIFE projects on large carnivores and their conflict-prevention measures analysis or the European wide Socio-economic impact analysis of large carnivores.
- WWF Adria is fostering cooperation with relevant Slovenian stakeholders (Slovenian Forest Service, Biotechnical faculty, competent authorities) and exchanging data and experiences as well as working together on other projects and initiatives (such as Interreg Carnivora Dinarica project) with a common goal – making the coexistence of people and large carnivores possible.
Project description - leaflet (pdf)
EC web summary (EN): http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=6326
Project web (EN): https://www.eurolargecarnivores.eu/en/
Project web in SI (auto-translate for now): https://www.eurolargecarnivores.eu/sl/
WWF Adria web (EN): http://www.wwfadria.org/what_we_do/all_initiatives/lifeeurolargecarnivores/