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Population level management and conservation of brown bears in northern Dinaric Mountains and the Alps (LIFE DINALP BEAR)
Start date: Jul 1, 2014, End date: Jun 30, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Conflicts between humans and brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations in Slovenia 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, inflated estimations of the risk of bear attacks leading to a lower tolerance of bears; and high traffic-related mortality, associated with the increasing fragmentation of its habitat as a result of growing traffic infrastructure and urbanisation. Objectives The project’s main objective focuses on establishing a more strategic territorial approach to the conservation, management, and monitoring of brown bear populations in Slovenia. Other important aims include decreasing human-bear conflicts and promoting better coexistence between bears and humans. The ultimate goal is to encourage the natural expansion of brown bear from the Dinaric Mountains into the Alps. Expected results: Establishment of population-level management of brown bears across the Northern Dinaric Mountains and Alps covering four neighbouring countries (Austria, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia); Management plans for the core brown bear population in Slovenia and Croatia – conflict rates will decrease by at least 10% in core areas and over 30% in the selected conflict hot spots; Decreased number of livestock predations by at least 20% – damages experienced by livestock breeders, beekeepers or fruit farmers participating in the project will decrease by at least 80%; Decreased bear traffic mortality rates by at least 30% overall and at least 50% on mitigated road and railway sections; Reduced the number of ‘problematic’ bears culled by at least 20% by the use of non-lethal solutions; Bear eco-tourism featuring at least 10 bear-friendly products and 30 ecotourism events with at least 10 tourists per event; Increased knowledge and attitude scores of local inhabitants by at least 10% from the first poll; Two new emergency teams for brown bears; Awareness raising measures, leading to the improved understanding of management authorities, stakeholders and general public about causes for bear-human conflicts and associated solutions.
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