The five large carnivore species existing in Europe (brown bear Ursus arctos, wolf Canis lupus, Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx, Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus, and wolverines Gulo gulo) are among the most challenging group of species in conservation terms on an EU level. This is because of their biological needs – they have large ranges which cross borders – and the fact that they are controversial - they potentially conflict with human economic activities such as farming and hunting and in rare cases threaten human safety.
The sometimes problematic relationship between humans and large carnivores stands in the way of achieving the aims of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). In an effort to improve this coexistence and tackle the social and economic problems that can come with large carnivores' expansion in range and numbers, the European Commission in June 2014, launched the Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores. With this Platform, landowners, herders, conservationists, hunters and scientists can exchange ideas and best practices.
The following eight organisations were the founding member of the Platform: CIC – The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation; COPA-COGECA – European Farmers and European Agri-cooperatives; ELO - European Landowners’ Organization; EUROPARC Federation; FACE – The European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation; Joint representatives of Finnish and Swedish reindeer herders; IUCN – The International Union for Conservation of Nature, European Union Representative Office; and WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature, European Policy Office (COPA-COGECA however later chose to leave the Platform). Together, they agreed on a set of core principles for working together. These include working within the legal EU framework; using scientific evidence; recognising socio-economic and cultural considerations; and engaging in constructive dialogue and cooperation.
In the first year of the project, adelphi, together with its partner Callisto was responsible for supporting the European Commission in their work with the Platform. This involved working on a communication strategy, producing information materials, managing the web platform and online library, gathering good practice examples, and organising the annual meeting in Brussels and workshops in Bulgaria and Finland.