International team supports Regional Platform for Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores

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An international expert team on environmental conflict management has visited Harghita County Council for the second time on 20 June 2018 to meet local and regional stakeholders related the conflicts on presence and management of brown bear (Ursus arctos).

The European Commission is responsible for the contract through funds made available by the EU Parliament for the promotion of stakeholders platforms in areas of conflicts around the presence of large carnivores. The Istituto di Ecologia Applicata (Institute of Applied Ecology, IEA) based in Rome, Italy, is managing the project, with the support of  a team of social scientists and professional facilitators from various EU countries.  Several areas with ongoing conflicts have been selected – so far in Italy (Trento and Tuscany) and in Romania.

The meeting was held in Miercurea Ciuc, at Harghita County Council  and involved representatives of county councils and environmental protection agencies from Harghita, Covasna, Mureș, Brașov and Vrancea counties.

On the level of Harghita county, stakeholders presented a cooperation project between the Harghita County Council, the Pogány-havas Natura 2000 Administration and the local hunting associations in a joint pilot programme for brown bear monitoring in the Csík Basin (Depresiunea Ciucului).

Each of the counties representatives presented the large carnivore conflicts situation from their region.

According to Csaba Borboly, discussions with the parties should be continued as long as the government is able to establish healthy coexistence with the large carnivores. At the same time, the president of the county council drew the attention to the fact that since the highest population of bears in the region is in Harghita County, the impact of bear on human activities, including bear attacks, can be very high, attacks occur on a daily basis. One serious consequence of this, according to the county president, is that, in addition to fear, in many cases farming is less and less profitable year after year. The issues discussed by the participants included hunting as a management tool, intervention to prevent damages, the compensation system, the need to empowering regional institutions in the decision making about intervention, finding common fields for action on a regional level and involving key stakeholders.

Further meetings with stakeholders are planned before the focus and location of a future regional/local platform for mitigating conflicts and management of large carnivores will be established.

Miercurea Ciuc, 20th June 2018

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