On 2 June 2015 around 40 representatives from hunting associations, nature conservation groups, the European Commission, as well as landowners and reindeer herders gathered for the second annual meeting of the “EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores“ in Brussels. The Platform’s goal is to find opportunities to resolve conflicts between human interests and wolves, lynxes, bears and wolverines which have in recent years returned to habitat from which they have long been absent. adelphi, in partnership with the Greek NGO Callisto, is assisting the European Commission in implementing the Platform's work on a practical and technical level.
The delegates discussed a range of case studies with examples of good practice that could be implemented in a larger number of EU countries, as well as discussing the socio-economic impacts of the coexistence between humans and large carnivores. In order to protect livestock populations, the member organisations agreed to examine more closely the opportunities available from the rural development programmes in the individual EU Member States.
"Regional perspectives on the core issue of coexistence with large carnivores are invaluable”
During the annual meeting the participants acknowledged the results of the first regional workshop which took place as a side event to the 62nd annual meeting of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) in April in the Bulgarian town of Pravets. Around 120 representatives from regional interest groups, including a large number of hunters, discussed potential solutions for dealing with large carnivores coexistence questions in the Balkans and Carpathian mountains.
The workshop covered three important topics, also of great significance for the general debate: issues regarding transboundary cooperation, moving from conflict to coexistence, and prioritising upcoming measures. “We were delighted to see the engagement in the first regional workshop and the “constructive disagreement” between participants. The same coexistence issues may be faced under different European cultures and ecological conditions. Therefore, listening to the local perspectives on Large Carnivore issues is invaluable”, emphasised the co-chair from the European Commission Pia Bucella.
The second workshop is planned for early October and will be organised by the Finnish Reindeer Herders' Association focusing on socio-economic issues around coexistance.