Establishing regional and local platforms for the coexistence between people and large carnivores

gray wolf

The protection and management of the four large carnivore species European brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), northern lynx (Lynx lynx) and wolverine (Gulo gulo) is one of the greatest challenges of species protection at EU level. This is partly due to the fact that their biological needs, such as the inhabitation of large territories, and their natural behaviour can lead to conflict with human activities in agriculture, forestry and hunting. Only in rare cases do these carnivores pose a threat to human safety.

In recent years, some large predator populations have been able to recover within the EU. Although many people have welcomed this as a success for nature conservation, in some areas it has led to conflicts between different stakeholders. These conflicts vary in intensity depending on the socio-economic activities carried out within the region to which the large predators return. Therefore, the cooperation of different local interest groups involved in large carnivore management continues to be of great importance. It is clear that there is no ideal way for a unified large predator management to succeed anywhere in Europe. Instead, management must be adapted to local circumstances.

For this reason, the members of the EU Platform on Coexistence of people and large carnivores came together with the EU Parliament Intergroup: Biodiversity, Hunting, Rural Activities to advocate the establishment of regional platforms to promote coexistence in areas with acute conflicts with large predators. The European Parliament decided to finance a pilot project, which was contracted by the European Commission.

adelphi collaborated with the Italian Institute of Applied Ecology to establish regional platforms for the coexistence of human and large carnivores in different Member States. Three regional platforms in Harghita County in Romania, Grosseto in Italy and Avila in Spain were established through a first pilot project in 2018. In Grosseto and Avila, the platforms focus on the conflicts related to the impact of wolves on livestock. In Romania, a platform has been established focusing on the impact of bears on human activities. The project involved bringing together different stakeholders to discuss potential ways to support coexistence with large carnivores. Following an intensive participative process, the participants brainstormed and ranked options for concrete actions. Some of these actions were selected for funding through the project. adelphi was responsible for the development of the communication plan and for cooperation with the EU platform and other ongoing projects.