European Rewilding Network

LIFE DINALP BEAR project

Population level management and conservation of brown bear in northern Dinaric Mountains and the south-eastern Alps

The project focuses on the population level management and conservation of brown bears in the northern Dinaric Mountains and the Alps.
Miha Krofel
The project will establish population-level conservation, management and monitoring of brown bears across four countries.
Oton Naglost
The variety of project activities include non-lethal solutions to reduce human-bear conflicts, development of local-based bear ecotourism and promotion of natural expansion of bears into the Alps.
Berde Gyorgis Lajos
People behind LIFE DINALP Bear project.
LIFE DINALP Bear

The main objective of the project is to overcome the current local-scale practices of brown bear management and pave the way for transition to population-level conservation, management and monitoring. It will establish a tightly-knit transboundary network of professionals involved in these issues, optimize monitoring methods and their application, start with long-term transboundary monitoring, and provide first baseline data about these bears at the large-scale, transboundary level. It as well aims to create communication and data exchange channels required for such high-level cooperation, and provide expert and legislative backing. This will be one of the first efforts in Europe to start a transboundary management of a large carnivore, an idea endorsed and promoted by the European Commission through “Guidelines for Population Level Management Plans for Large Carnivores”, but rarely done in practice.

In a variety of project actions it will explore what drives conflict “hot-spots”, and use non-lethal solutions to provide best practice examples. The project will demonstrate solutions in preventing bears from reaching anthropogenic food, and explore carrion from game road kills as an alternative natural source of protein. It will also promote bears as an eco-tourist attraction, explore public attitudes towards bears, and use this for targeted educational and promotional activities to enhance understanding of this species and promoting co-existence.

While habitat modelling has shown that the Alps are capable of supporting a bear population and the small reintroduced population in Trentino is thriving, natural expansion is slow. The project team will use a multidisciplinary approach to look into this issue and try to understand the social and physical barriers to expansion, and the corridors that need to be protected. It will use this and provide solutions to slow down further habitat fragmentation, increase acceptability of bears in the areas where they are currently not permanently present, but where it is expected that  expansion will occur, and decrease traffic mortality.

Project: LIFE DINALP BEAR project
Region: Dinaric Mountains and the Alps (Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria)
Type of protection: Several national and nature parks and numerous Natura 2000 sites
Habitat types: Dinaric mountain chain with karst landscape and the Alpine mountain range with various habitat and vegetation types.
Keystone species: Brown bear, grey wolf, Griffon vulture
Aim and vision: Population-level bear management and monitoring; Reduced human-bear conflicts; Decreased bear traffic mortality; Establishment of carcass feeding sites; Development of bear eco-tourism and local bear-friendly products; Improve attitude of local inhabitants towards bears; Ensure habitat connectivity
Our vision is the population-level conservation, management and monitoring of bears. By using science-based approaches to reduce human-bear conflicts we believe publicly-supported coexistence with bears is possible, as well as the natural expansion of brown bear population into the Alps.
Uniqueness of the project: This is one of the first efforts in Europe to develop a transboundary management of a large carnivore, an idea endorsed and promoted by the European Commission, but rarely done in practice.
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Research, Sale of sustainable products
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Stabile bear numbers in the Dinaric Mts. and increased population size and distribution in the Alps; Established population-level bear management and monitoring over four countries; Reduced human-bear conflict rate; Well-developed bear eco-tourism; Local public support for bear conservation
Results so far: Completed non-invasive genetic sample collection across four countries; Analyses of human-bear conflicts and bear traffic mortality; Development and deployment of bear-proof garbage containers, compost bins and livestock protection electric fences; Establishment of bear emergency intervention groups; Establishment of bear feeding sites with wild ungulate carcasses; Development of a “bear-friendly” brand for sustainable local products; Workshops on developing bear eco-tourism for local hunting and tourism organizations; Published guidelines for preventing human-bear conflicts, communicating with stakeholders and promoting bear eco-tourism.
Inspirational value: The brown bear is one of the potentially most in conflict living and feared animals in Europe. However, coexistence of one of the largest bear populations on the continent with people in a densely populated region of Central Europe highlights the possibility that with careful management and implementation of effective measures that keep conflict rate low there can be space in Europe for almost any native wildlife species.
Experience you would like to share: Experiences with establishing population-level management and monitoring of large carnivores and promoting their coexistence with people in human-dominated landscapes. Wildlife management and conservation based on science.
Experience you would like to gain: Pros and cons of various management measures to prevent human-carnivore conflicts. Experiences from reintroducing carnivores and scavengers. Operationalizing wildlife-based eco-tourism in Europe.
Map
Country
Slovenia
Start year
2014
Size (ha)
5470000
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic, Mountainous, Temperate deciduous forest
Natural process
Predation
Flagship species
Bear
LIFE DINALP BEAR project
The project focuses on the population level management and conservation of brown bears in the northern Dinaric Mountains and the Alps.
Miha Krofel
The project will establish population-level conservation, management and monitoring of brown bears across four countries.
Oton Naglost
The variety of project activities include non-lethal solutions to reduce human-bear conflicts, development of local-based bear ecotourism and promotion of natural expansion of bears into the Alps.
Berde Gyorgis Lajos
People behind LIFE DINALP Bear project.
LIFE DINALP Bear

The main objective of the project is to overcome the current local-scale practices of brown bear management and pave the way for transition to population-level conservation, management and monitoring. It will establish a tightly-knit transboundary network of professionals involved in these issues, optimize monitoring methods and their application, start with long-term transboundary monitoring, and provide first baseline data about these bears at the large-scale, transboundary level. It as well aims to create communication and data exchange channels required for such high-level cooperation, and provide expert and legislative backing. This will be one of the first efforts in Europe to start a transboundary management of a large carnivore, an idea endorsed and promoted by the European Commission through “Guidelines for Population Level Management Plans for Large Carnivores”, but rarely done in practice.

In a variety of project actions it will explore what drives conflict “hot-spots”, and use non-lethal solutions to provide best practice examples. The project will demonstrate solutions in preventing bears from reaching anthropogenic food, and explore carrion from game road kills as an alternative natural source of protein. It will also promote bears as an eco-tourist attraction, explore public attitudes towards bears, and use this for targeted educational and promotional activities to enhance understanding of this species and promoting co-existence.

While habitat modelling has shown that the Alps are capable of supporting a bear population and the small reintroduced population in Trentino is thriving, natural expansion is slow. The project team will use a multidisciplinary approach to look into this issue and try to understand the social and physical barriers to expansion, and the corridors that need to be protected. It will use this and provide solutions to slow down further habitat fragmentation, increase acceptability of bears in the areas where they are currently not permanently present, but where it is expected that  expansion will occur, and decrease traffic mortality.

Map
Country
Slovenia
Start year
2014
Size (ha)
5470000
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic, Mountainous, Temperate deciduous forest
Natural process
Predation
Flagship species
Bear
Specification
Project: LIFE DINALP BEAR project
Region: Dinaric Mountains and the Alps (Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria)
Type of protection: Several national and nature parks and numerous Natura 2000 sites
Habitat types: Dinaric mountain chain with karst landscape and the Alpine mountain range with various habitat and vegetation types.
Keystone species: Brown bear, grey wolf, Griffon vulture
Description
Aim and vision: Population-level bear management and monitoring; Reduced human-bear conflicts; Decreased bear traffic mortality; Establishment of carcass feeding sites; Development of bear eco-tourism and local bear-friendly products; Improve attitude of local inhabitants towards bears; Ensure habitat connectivity
Our vision is the population-level conservation, management and monitoring of bears. By using science-based approaches to reduce human-bear conflicts we believe publicly-supported coexistence with bears is possible, as well as the natural expansion of brown bear population into the Alps.
Uniqueness of the project: This is one of the first efforts in Europe to develop a transboundary management of a large carnivore, an idea endorsed and promoted by the European Commission, but rarely done in practice.
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Research, Sale of sustainable products
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Stabile bear numbers in the Dinaric Mts. and increased population size and distribution in the Alps; Established population-level bear management and monitoring over four countries; Reduced human-bear conflict rate; Well-developed bear eco-tourism; Local public support for bear conservation
Results so far: Completed non-invasive genetic sample collection across four countries; Analyses of human-bear conflicts and bear traffic mortality; Development and deployment of bear-proof garbage containers, compost bins and livestock protection electric fences; Establishment of bear emergency intervention groups; Establishment of bear feeding sites with wild ungulate carcasses; Development of a “bear-friendly” brand for sustainable local products; Workshops on developing bear eco-tourism for local hunting and tourism organizations; Published guidelines for preventing human-bear conflicts, communicating with stakeholders and promoting bear eco-tourism.
Exchange
Inspirational value: The brown bear is one of the potentially most in conflict living and feared animals in Europe. However, coexistence of one of the largest bear populations on the continent with people in a densely populated region of Central Europe highlights the possibility that with careful management and implementation of effective measures that keep conflict rate low there can be space in Europe for almost any native wildlife species.
Experience you would like to share: Experiences with establishing population-level management and monitoring of large carnivores and promoting their coexistence with people in human-dominated landscapes. Wildlife management and conservation based on science.
Experience you would like to gain: Pros and cons of various management measures to prevent human-carnivore conflicts. Experiences from reintroducing carnivores and scavengers. Operationalizing wildlife-based eco-tourism in Europe.
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