LIFE DINALP BEAR – Management and protection of brown bear populations in the northern Dinarides and Alps LIFE13 NAT/SI/000550
Duration of the project:
1/7/2014 – 30/6/2019
Slovenia Forest Service
University of Ljubljana, Rijeka-Zagreb DD highway, ERICo Velenje, Ecological Research & Industrial Co-operation Ltd., Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, Autonomous Province of Trento – Forest Service and Fauna Lince Italia project,Veneto Region – Unità di Progetto Caccia a Pesca.
Web page: LIFE DINALP BEAR
Conflicts between humans and brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations in Europe remain an ongoing threat to the conservation status of bears and steps must be taken to improve coexistence. Measures need to tackle such challenges as a lack of understanding of bears’ socio-economic and environmental value, inflated estimations of the risk of bear attacks leading to a lower tolerance of bears; and high traffic-related mortality, associated with the increasing fragmentation of its habitat as a result of growing traffic infrastructure and urbanisation.
- Monitoring the number of individuals in the population, management and protection of brown bears in the northern Dinarides and southeastern Alps
The main goal of the project is to overcome current local practices of brown bear management and pave the way for the transition to protection, management and monitoring of the number of individuals at the population level. A tightly connected cross-border network of professionals dealing with this topic will be established, monitoring methods and their application will be optimized, long-term cross-border monitoring will be launched and the first basic data on bears at a broader, cross-border level will be obtained. Communication channels and data exchange channels necessary for cooperation at such a high level will be created and professional and legal assistance will be provided. This will be one of the first attempts in Europe to launch cross-border management of large carnivores, an idea supported and promoted by the European Commission through the “Guidelines for the development of large carnivore management plans at the population level”, but rarely implemented in practice.
- Reducing the number of conflicts between humans and bears and promoting coexistence
Various actions will investigate what causes hotspots of conflict and use non-lethal solutions to provide the best examples in practice. Solutions to prevent bears from taking food from human sources will be shown. Also, promote bears as an ecotourism attraction, explore public attitudes towards bears and use this for educational and promotional activities to foster understanding of this species and promote coexistence.
- Promoting the natural spread of the brown bear from the Dinarides to the Alps
While habitat projections have shown that bear survival is possible in the Alps and that the small repopulated population in Trentino is thriving, natural spread is slow. A multidisciplinary approach will be used to explore and try to understand the social and physical barriers to expansion and to protect the corridors used by animals. This will be used to find solutions to slow further habitat fragmentation, increase bear acceptance in areas where they are not currently present but are expected to expand, and reduce traffic-related mortality.