The EU-funded LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores Project has launched a Europe-wide video campaign that features testimonials from people sharing the landscape with large carnivores. The videos demonstrate how people from all over the continent have found ways to coexist with bears, wolves, lynxes and wolverines.
According to official estimates, there are currently around 17,000 wolves, 17,000 bears, 9,000 lynx and 1,250 wolverines living in Europe (not including Russia).
Where people and large carnivores share the same landscapes, conflicts may arise.
“Coexistence between people and large carnivores is possible if people are open to learning from each other and try to adapt to the situation. The video testimonials demonstrate how people from all over the continent have found ways to coexist,” says Gavril Marius Berchi, Large Carnivore Conservation Project Manager, WWF-Romania.
People sharing their experiences in the videos range from farmers and sheep herders that have found ways to protect their livestock, to ecotourism operators and ordinary people from rural communities that accept and appreciate the presence of large carnivores.
“The situations and reactions of local communities living with large carnivores are very divergent across Europe. That’s why the videos do not preach one-size-fits-all answers. We hope that the videos can inspire people in different countries and regions to try to find the solutions that best fit their situations,” adds László Patkó, Large Carnivore Conservation Project Manager at WWF-Hungary.
The videos were filmed in Finland, Norway, Germany, France, Slovakia, Romania, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Austria and Hungary. All videos have been published on the LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores project’s YouTube channel. The videos will be shared widely on WWF Central and Eastern Europe social media channels.
WWF-Romania offers stories of two locals living in areas where wolves, bears and lynx never disappeared; Relu Nica a former ranger and Ioan Purcel a former hunter from the Apuseni Mountains. For both, large carnivores are an indispensable presence in the forest and a treasure that must be protected. In their opinion, there are solutions to reduce the risk of unwanted meetings, which some people have successfully applied and can share with others.