© F1lter 88/ Pexels
Location: Crno jezero

Good Practice

Library of useful documents

Large Carnivores in the Dinarides:
Management, Monitoring, Threats and Conflicts

This background report assesses the situation regarding the current status of large carnivores, their management and monitoring, threats and conflicts in the Dinaric Region.

Assessing diet composition in Croatian wolf population: Insights from DNA metabarcoding analysis

This report presents the findings of wolf diet analysis by applying DNA metabarcoding analysis of the 60 selected faeces samples collected during 2022 for the purpose of Croatian national wolf monitoring.

Carnivora Dinarica Project outcomes

This project focused on three main common challenges relating to large carnivore management between Croatia and Slovenia. These were addressing gaps in the cross-border management of large carnivores, reducing the risks that threaten large carnivores (particularly the growing pressure of humans) and raising awareness of the role large carnivores play in the ecosystem.

Protecting Property from Large Carnivores

Download leaflet on reducing large carnivore damages.

We are guests in nature

Download leaflet:

What a difference Large Carnivores Make

Poster on the ecosystem benefits provided by large carnivores

Large Carnivores in Croatia

Download factsheet here:

Project videos

Videos from the project describing coexistence with large carnivores and measures to protect livestock

Playlist of all Carnivora Dinarica Videos

EU Platform on coexistence between people and large carnivores outcomes

Video describing the establishment of regional and local platforms on large carnivores

Toolkit describing establishment of regional and local platforms on large carnivores

Good practice examples

Capacity building for future large carnivore experts

Capacity building for future large carnivore experts

© Ekrem Veapi

Introduction

Members of the large carnivore field school in BiH.
@ CZZS

Recent years have seen a positive development of civil society organisations in the Balkans, amongst other things connected to environmental topics and species conservation programs. There is, however, still a significant lack of qualified and experienced staff in some countries and large carnivore experts are urgently needed.

To address this issue and thereby create the basis for the long term and professional implementation of LC projects, the EuroNatur Foundation supported by the Bernd Thies Foundation developed and implemented a capacity building programme together with our partners from CZZS and CZIP. The programme aimed to identify, train and support young conservationists from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro in a professional career in LC conservation, management and research.

The approach was based on two components (i) a one-week training programme (field school) for LC conservation with both practical and theoretical lessons and (ii) a subsequent small grant program for high potential participants of the field school enabling the implementation of small but targeted actions focusing on conservation of LCs and gain hands-on experience.

Key actions

Objective 1: Gain a better understanding of the current status, obstacles and needs in capacities for LC conservation in the Balkans, especially in BiH and MNE

  • Survey to identify needs for capacity building for LCs in Balkan countries

 

Objective 2: Interested persons are informed about LC work in BiH/MNE and receive information on “Large carnivore field school”

  • Information events at universities and among additional stakeholder groups (hunters, protected area staff etc)                 
  • Selection of participants for field school based on letter of motivation and CV

Objective 3: One-week “Large Carnivore field school” is planned and implemented

  • Set up programme with practical and theoretical lessons and conduct field school
 

Objective 4: High-potential persons are involved in (existing) projects and supported for a career in LC conservation

  • Call for applications for small grants for LC conservation projects
  • Support and supervise the implementation of the winning proposals including networking

Results

So far, we have been able to hold two LC field schools in BiH and one in MNE. In addition, there were two Calls for proposals under the small grant scheme.

The combined approach has proven a very successful tool for raising capacities among young professionals and it is very desirable to continue and replicate the approach in other countries of the region. However, equally important is to make use of the capacities created and enable a long-term commitment to a career in LC conservation.

 

Financing

The capacity building programme has been implemented with financial support of Bernd Thies Foundation and EuroNatur Foundation.

Members of the large carnivore field school in BiH following a presentation.
@ CZZS
Educational lynx trial

Educational lynx trail

Lynx mother with child sitting in a green forest.
© European Commission

Introduction

© Zavod Kočevsko

The Eurasian lynx population in Slovenia is endangered, mainly due to genetic deterioration (inbreeding). To save the population from extinction, the LIFE Lynx project was launched in 2017. New animals were translocated to the area, and the genetic diversity of the population was approved. Besides translocating lynx, it is essential that such projects also address other aspects, involving stakeholders and increasing public support for lynx.

Lynx educational trail was prepared by Biotehnical faculty, University of Ljubljana and Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation. Since the beginning, project team actively involved local stakeholders from organizations covering tourism, forest management and local mountaineering club. Content was developed in two languages to cover needs of foreign and domestic visitors, through development of different side products (booklet for children, didactic guidelines for teachers, interactive e-lessons) it was ensured that the trail is interesting for different target groups.

Particular attention was given to finding a local partner to take over the maintenance of the route once the project has been completed.

Key actions

Workshop for locals to present the idea and gather suggestions

Transfer of governance from project to local tourism organization

Preparation of the trail and contents for the info boards

©Irena Kavčič

Results

Short, circular educational trail with 8 thematic stops and didactic elements. Content is bilingual, covering facts about the species, its importance in the ecosystem, threats the population is facing. Booklet in form of treasure hunt was created to motivate children to hike the trail, moreover didactic guidelines (in Slovene only) for teachers were prepared to find out what curriculum content is covered by the content of the trail.

Lynx thematic trail was also awarded by Tourist Association of Slovenia as “Best thematic trail in 2023”.

Financing

Activity was financed through LIFE Lynx project, LIFE16 NAT/SI/000634, for the budget of cca. 10.000 EUR. LIFE Lynx was co-financed by the Ministry of Environment and Spatial planning of the Republic of Slovenia.

illustration by Samo Jencic
Promoting Coexistence: The Bear Friendly Label

Promoting Coexistence: The Bear Friendly Label

© Martina Osmak
© Martina Osmak

Introduction

bear friendly wolf badge on moss.
© Petra Muhič

Effective communication about large carnivores often centers on livestock damages and conflict mitigation. To foster a more harmonious coexistence, the Bear Friendly label was introduced. The label gives recognition to local individuals and businesses that actively contribute to better coexistence with large carnivores.

Three different categories were defined for bear friendly label: farming, tourism and active promotion. Each category has a different set of criteria which need to be fulfilled to obtain the label. Llabelling committee was formed comprising experts from different fields of expertise (tourism, damage prevention measures and large carnivore conservation). The committee screens each application on an individual basis. The whole application process is designed to be an opportunity for applicants to receive feedback that helps them meet the criteria and includes possible suggestions on upgrading their practice towards better coexistence with large carnivores.

The label can be awarded to farmers who implement effective damage prevention measures to their livestock or beehives, tourism programs that respect responsible guidelines for large carnivore tourism, and local handicrafts that provide accurate information about these species, dispelling myths and misinformation.

The label communicates the unique story of human-bear coexistence heritage in the region and paves the way towards more balanced relationship between men and large carnivores.

Key actions

Development of labelling criteria

Formation of expert committee

Promotion of the label among user (bear friendly ambassadors

Promotion of the label among consumers

bear friendly market by
© Irena Kavčič
Close up of a Bear friendly honey jar on a mossy forest floor. The hones was produced in a beehive effectively protected by an electric fence.
© Petra Draškovič

Results

Bear Friendly label was awarded to approx. 60 products and services. Based on received feedback from users of the label, the response of customers is positive, bear friendly ambassadors use the label to share positive stories about coexistence in areas where they are often perceived as a burden.

The label is promoted through different publications, tourism programmes, study tours, conferences and educational seminars and online.

Additionally, some of the products can be bought in the DINA Pivka large carnivore visitor centre’s shop.

A Story about promoting responsible wildlife tourism and wildlife friendly practices is shared as part of Natura 2000 branding campaign that communicates the benefits of Natura 2000 areas for nature and people

Financing

The Bear Friendly label was initially funded by the LIFE DINALP BEAR project (LIFE13 NAT/SI/000550). This initiative has since been further promoted through LIFE Lynx (LIFE16 NAT/SI/000634), Interreg Slovenia-Croatia Carnivora Dinarica and LIFE WOLFALPS EU (LIFE18 NAT/IT/000972).