The fifth annual meeting of the EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores took place in Brussels at the end of May. The Platform brings together representatives from landowning, herding, hunting, research and conservation organisations to “promote ways and means to minimize and find solutions to conflicts between people and large carnivores”. The Plenary meeting is the annual opportunity for the Platform members to review their work plan and agree the next years’ work.
The agenda started with a situation review, examining large carnivore status across the EU. The IUCN Species Specialist Group – the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (LCIE) has carried out a major information gathering exercise to bring together and analyse the information on large carnivore numbers, ranges, damages and threats to conservation. An early version of the results was presented to the Platform members, full results will be ready published later this year. Linked to this item, the Platform reviewed how protection measures are being implemented in the EU and how member states fund such measures through national or European funding.
The work of national and regional large carnivore platforms and how the EU Platform can support, exchange with, and learn from them were also discussed. A final item on the agenda was a review of information on fear and risk associated with large carnivores. The Platform discussed good practices for addressing fear of large carnivores.
Humberto Delgado-Rosa, Director for Natural Capital, DG Environment, who co-chairs the meeting for the European Commission, said: “The focus of this group on coexistence is very important. The Platform supports constructive dialogue without neglecting socio-economic impacts. We understand well that there is real hardship associated with the presence of large carnivores, particularly for livestock managers in some locations, and targeted support is needed. With the establishment of regional platforms in different member states, the role of the EU Platform to link these initiatives in conflict areas becomes increasingly important.”
Dr. David Scallan, FACE Senior Conservation Manager stated: “The meeting was useful for FACE to discuss some important policy developments related to large carnivores as well as the work on the latest status of large carnivores undertaken by IUCN LCIE. The return of large carnivores in Europe continues to present challenges for many rural stakeholders including hunters and the Platform provides a way to exchange views with key interest groups”.
The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), which was represented by FACE at this meeting, provided an update on the high-level panel discussion at the CIC General Assembly in Madrid on 7 May entitled “Facts or Fables: The wolf beyond Little Red Riding Hood”. The panel concluded with a plea for greater flexibility in the development of wolf conservation plans within the EU and other countries where their return is increasingly problematic.
Further information on the EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores:
The EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores is a grouping of organisations representing different interest groups which have agreed a joint mission: “to promote ways and means to minimize, and wherever possible find solutions to, conflicts between human interests and the presence of large carnivore species, by exchanging knowledge and by working together in an open-ended, constructive and mutually respectful way.” For more information on the work of the Platform, please find under this link.
ELO – European Landowners’ Organization;
Joint representatives of Finnish and Swedish reindeer herders;
FACE – The European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation;
CIC – The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation;
IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature, European Union Representative Office;
WWF – Worldwide Fund for Nature, European Policy Office and EUROPARC Federation.