LIFE COEX - Improving Coexistence of Large Carnivores and Agriculture in Southern Europe

Geographical location:

Europe/Middle-East > -Regions- > Alps

Europe/Middle-East > Eastern Europe > Croatia
Europe/Middle-East > Southern Europe > Italy
Europe/Middle-East > Southern Europe > Portugal
Europe/Middle-East > Southern Europe > Spain
Europe/Middle-East > West Central Europe > France

Summary

The project aims at the development of necessary legal and socio-economic conditions for effective conservation of large carnivores (grey wolf and brown bear) in the target areas by reducing conflict situations through a participatory approach.

The project takes place in selected areas in 5 different countries: Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Croatia. WWF France is the programme coordinator for France, working directly with other French NGOs in the Alps and the Pyrenees.

The COEX is a LIFE project, funded partly by the EU. The whole project is led by the Institute of Applied Ecology in Rome.

Background

Damage caused to livestock is one reason persecution of large carnivores has persisted for centuries, extirpating them in parts of their range, or in the best case, reducing them to small, remnant populations.

In many areas of their range, traditional damage prevention methods have disappeared. In some regions like the Alps and the Pyrenees, wolves are now coming back naturally. Bears, like in the Pyrenees, have been reintroduced and new phases of reintroduction are foreseen. Unprotected agricultural facilities in these regions are vulnerable to attacks from wild predators. The consequence is a high incidence of damage for farmers or constraints in the management of their farm.

A direct consequence of these constraints caused by carnivores to agriculture is a decrease of acceptance of the rural populations for these species, turning the carnivore management difficulties into emotional rather than economic. Reducing these carnivore-human conflicts is a prerequisite for successful conservation of large carnivores.

Objectives

Social acceptance of brown bear and grey wolf among farmers.

Solution

In France, several actions are implemented:

- Development and promotion of bear-friendly farm products in the Pyrenees.

- Opinion surveys about bear and wolf social acceptance among breeders and shepherds.

- Surveillance of the flocks by eco-volunteers.

- Advice and promotion concerning coexistence techniques (including livestock guarding dogs) between large carnivores and farmers.

- Organization of national and international meetings between stakeholders involved in large carnivore conservation and agriculture organizations.

- Awareness and information actions about bear and wolf focused on coexistence with agriculture.

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