The sixth plenary meeting of the European Union Large Carnivore Platform was held in Brussels on Monday, 13 May 2019. Deputy Director General, Mark Ryan was representing the CIC at the meeting, which was attended by other platform members including the European Commission (Chair), ELO – European Landowners’ Organization (Co-chair), IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature, WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature, FACE – European Federation for Hunting and Conservation, EUROPARC, and Reindeer Herders’ Association.
The plenary discussed a number of subjects of relevance to large carnivore management, namely the European Union’s new common agricultural policy (CAP) and what this means for coexistence with large carnivores (see here) progress on the establishment of regional platforms on people and large carnivores in Europe (see meeting statement on Grosseto platform); fears and risks associated with large carnivores, and the importance of appropriate and accurate communication in reaching out to the public on the subject.
What became clear from the discussions is that multiple populations of large carnivores, especially wolves and bears have reached a ‘favourable conservation status’ level locally in many parts of Europe. With this status comes the need to consider suitable management measures, including sustainable use, in order to minimise conflicts. There was even a suggestion that hunting could potentially help increase the avoidance of humans by certain large carnivores, though this warrants further research. There are already multiple examples of countries, in Europe and elsewhere who are successfully and sustainably managing their populations of large carnivores through hunting.
While numerous financial tools are available to help minimise conflict between humans and large carnivores, their effectiveness and efficiency in actually preventing or compensating damages needs to be measured. It became clear during the meeting that more needs to be done in terms of monitoring the effectiveness and efficiency of any measures.
The CIC is grateful to the European Commission and all platform members present for the constructive discussions that were had.