Additional regional and local platforms for large carnivores

When it comes to species conservation and management at the EU level, four large carnivores present the greatest challenge: the brown bear (Ursus arctos), the wolf (Canis lupus), the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and the wolverine (Gulo gulo). This is partly due to their biological needs; their natural territories are very large and extend across national borders. In addition, their proliferation is controversial given the potential conflict with agriculture, forestry and hunting. Only in rare cases do these animals pose a danger to human life.

In recent years, some large carnivore populations have recovered in the EU. Although many welcome this as a success for nature conservation, in some areas it has led to conflict among various stakeholders. These conflicts vary in intensity depending on the socio-economic activities in the respective region. This is why cooperation among local interest groups involved in large carnivore management continues to be of great importance. It is clear that a uniform, Europe-wide method for large carnivore management will not work; initiatives must adapt to local circumstances.

For this reason, the members of the EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores joined the European Parliament’s Biodiversity, Hunting and Countryside Intergroup to set up regional platforms that promote coexistence in areas of acute conflict with large predators. The European Parliament has decided to finance a pilot project commissioned by the European Commission.

After helping set up the first regional platforms in Italy, Spain and Romania in 2018, adelphi and the Italian Institute for Applied Ecology will continue their cooperation with a second pilot project in 2019. This project will further develop three regional/local coexistence platforms for human and large carnivores in various Member States. Platforms are currently being tested in Germany (Lower Saxony), France, Sweden and Finland. They will apply the same methodology as the first pilot project, with an intensive participatory process followed by the implementation of pilot initiatives. adelphi is responsible for developing the communication plan, cooperating with the EU platform and other ongoing projects, and managing the implementation of two of the platforms.

A recent example from France: in order to avoid tensions between the stakeholders concerned, the Vercors Regional Nature Park in the French region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, in collaboration with the European project supported by adelphi, has set up a multi-actor working group on "Protection measures against the wolf (including guard dogs) and other uses of the territory". The aim is to develop a common narrative on the guard dog and sharing spaces, and to propose a catalogue of communication tools to use this narrative in the Vercors Regional Nature Park.