Out of the 33 populations of European large carnivores, only four can be found within a single country, implying that 88% are trans-boundary in nature. Some of the populations span as many as eight EU member states. Given that legislations, socio-economic conditions, management approaches, acceptance levels, protection status and many other parameters differ (sometimes very strongly) among countries, introducing population level management and conservation methods can be a challenge. This problem is rooted in the lack of coordinated action and insufficient communication among conservation actors, authorities and stakeholders in different countries. The project will establish instruments to help overcome the following main barriers to transboundary cooperation: A lack of awareness of conservation actors, local and national authorities of the importance of communicating, coordinating management and monitoring large carnivores; A gap in the communication capacity of the aforementioned actors; A lack of knowledge on how to reduce human-wildlife conflicts and how to maximise the benefits that large carnivores bring, such as the ecological role they play and heir socio-economic impact; and A lack of regional, national and Europe-wide exchange on best practices among affected communities, stakeholders and authorities (e.g. livestock protection measures, tourism concepts).
EUROLARGECARNIVORES aims to improve transboundary cooperation and population management of large carnivores in Europe. Specifically, it aims to: Boost awareness among local and national authorities and introduce communication tools that are customised to the geographical and cultural situation; Inform and actively engage key actors in a consensus-driven approach on their needs and responsibilities; Develop cross-border, interdisciplinary pathways to engage formerly passive actors and bring new perspectives and knowledge to large carnivore management; Contribute to an EU-wide common understanding of stakeholder-oriented population based large carnivore conservation strategies; Contribute to the implementation of the EU policy paper "Key actions for large carnivore populations in Europe"; Give added value to existing large carnivores projects (LIFE and other programmes) by promoting their results and sharing best practices; Provide local stakeholders such as farmers with direct engagement opportunities and customised learning experiences through a trusted peer-to-peer approach; and Provide support to EU policy development through concrete documentation of the contribution to the abovementioned EU policy paper.
Expected results: Comprehensive, EU-wide knowledge base: Data collection/database on existing approaches and projects covering the entire EU territory, collection and promotion of best-practice; and EU-wide stakeholder map on population level focusing on the five key areas targeted by the project.
Establishment and fostering of EU-wide networks and platforms: Multi-stakeholder network of local and national authorities covering all authorities responsible for population-based conservation of large carnivores; and EU-wide exchange platform on large carnivores for experts, stakeholders and the wider public.
Communication and implementation plans: EU-wide communication plan including provisions for all regions and instruments, links to materials and references, with differentiation between cultural approaches; and National and cross-border stakeholder engagement plans.
Dissemination and communication: Guidelines for effective livestock protection; Media relation sets on large carnivores available in all partner languages; At least 40 regional to trans-national workshops and one international conference, with more than 3 000 participants attending; Magical moments campaign showcasing the successful relationships between humans and large carnivores including personal stories; and Promotion and information campaigns on every website of the WWF, as well as on at least 10 national and regional websites.
Contribution to research: Two surveys on stakeholder attitudes; and Comprehensive desk research on existing knowledge and knowledge gaps.