Life DinAlp Bear - Population level management and conservation of brown bears in northern Dinaric Mountains and the Alps
Brownbears are omnivores who primarily consume plant-based foods. Unlike wolves or lynx they are not specialized hunters of mammals, but possess great strength and so can pose a danger to pasture animals. (Photo P. Kaczensky)
Although bear populations have recovered in many areas of Europe, the bears rarely disperse from Slovenia to Austria and Italy.
Electric fences around bee hives offer effective protection against bears. (Photo F. Knauer)
In the politically fragmented landscape of Europe, one of the most important goals in conservation and management of brown bears (Ursus arctos) is transboundary, population level coordination. Unfortunately, this goal is often very difficult to achieve. We are trying to overcome this obstacle in Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Italy through a large Life+ project mainly funded by the European Commission (69%) and targeting the brown bear population in Northern Dinaric Mts. and south-eastern Alps. The project Life DinAlp Bear started on the 1st of July 2014 and will last until the 30th of June 2019.
Conflicts between humans and brown bear 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 or high traffic-related mortality, associated with the increasing fragmentation of its habitat as a result of growing traffic infrastructure and urbanisation.
The Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology (FIWI) is one of the project´s 9 regional partners. Together with partners in other countries we aim to advance scientific understanding of the slow spread of the Slovenian bear population. Our task is to improve bear monitoring and acceptance of the presence of bears in the Austrian project sites. We also collaborate with our partners to further enhance trans-boundary coordination and harmonisation of bear conservation and management in participating countries.