Open borders for Brown bears in the Carpathians

Posted on 07 June 2012  | 
A new project aims to conserve the Brown bears of the Romanian and Ukrainian Carpathians by maintaining connectivity of their habitats. By reducing habitat fragmentation, reconstruction of migration corridors and securing sustainable use of natural resources, the project "Open borders for bears in the Carpathians of Romania and Ukraine" will cover Maramures in Romania, and Ivano-Frankivsk and Zakarpatska in Ukraine.

Basic requirements for the survival of Brown bears are the possibilities for feeding, resting, mating and dispersion, and, last but not least, the existence of favorable habitats and of corridors which connect these habitats. As a consequence of human activities and socio-economic development in the region, the habitats are increasingly affected, being either destroyed or fragmented.

The lack of systematic research-based information on bears in the region may lead to a further increase in fragmentation of habitats and migration corridors, because soon it will be no longer possible to implement effective conservation measures. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify critical habitats and habitat corridors which provide connectivity.

"This project is essential for biodiversity conservation in this region, which is in continuous decline due to pressures and focus on the economical values over the natural ones”, said WWF’s Cristian-Remus Papp, Project Coordinator. “Studies such as those proposed in the project have never been made in the area”.

One of the activities of the project is capturing five brown bears and monitoring them by GSM-GPS, plus infrared camera using motion sensors.

At the end of the project, along with identification of migration corridors, the project team will propose a series of measures for long-term conservation of Brown bears.

Initiated by WWF, the project is funded by the European Union, through the Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013. The project is implemented in partnership with the Ukrainian organization RachivEcoTur.

More about the project

The specific project objectives include:
  • Evaluation of the project area to identify critical habitats, migration corridors and needs of recovering the lost ecological corridors for the population of bears in the Carpathians, in the border region of Maramures, Romania and Ukraine, by 2013;
  • Proposal and implementation of effective management tools for natural resources, along an area of 270,000 ha, to help conserve critical habitats and corridors for bears, but also the sustainable development of the communities;
  • Development of management measures designed to help conserve bears and specific habitats and sustainable communities;
  • Increasing public awareness and building capacity for the conservation of the natural values in the border area of Maramures.
As a consequence of human activities and socio-economic development in the region, Brown bear habitats are increasingly affected, being either destroyed or fragmented.
© Wild Wonders of Europe /Staffan Widstrand / WWF Enlarge

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