WWF joins new EU platform to successfully conserve and manage large carnivores in Europe | WWF

WWF joins new EU platform to successfully conserve and manage large carnivores in Europe

Posted on 10 June 2014
Lynx (lynx lynx), Italy
© R.Isotti, A.Cambone - Homo Ambiens / WWF

WWF has today become part of a new EU Platform “Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores” [1] that has been set up by the European Commission with the aim of promoting a dialogue among stakeholders when conflicts arise between humans and the presence of large carnivore species [2].

Lynx, wolves and brown bears are returning to areas in Western Europe from which they have long been absent. This raises specific questions concerning the effective conservation of these species and the potential consequences for livestock farmers and hunters.

Together with seven other organisations [3], WWF has signed a manifesto which aims to tackle conflicts related to the growth of large carnivore numbers in many parts of Europe. WWF welcomes the initiative as timely and necessary.

Tony Long, Director of the WWF European Policy Office, said:

“The return of large carnivore species in many areas of Europe is a conservation success story. Although little noticed, the fact is that the populations of endangered species like the brown bear in Karelia and Spain, the wolf in Germany and Poland and the wolverine in the Scandinavian countries have doubled in population in the last ten years. The EU Nature Directives, such as the Habitats Directive [4], have played a crucial part in this.

But this conservation success brings new challenges in its wake, especially in areas where traditional farming practices have disappeared. New ways have to be found of sharing experiences that allow and encourage the coexistence between humans, livestock and large carnivores."


Conservation status of large carnivores in Europe

• The brown bear population in the EU has increased by 7% in seven years, from 15800 individuals in 2005 to 17000 in 2012, with a high growth in some specific areas. The Karelian bear, for example, has doubled its population from 850 to 1700 individuals and the Scandinavian has increased from 2600 to 3400 bears (in 1930 there were only 130 bears in Scandinavia). In the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain the population has doubled in the last decade (from 100 to 200 individuals).

• The lynx population in the EU has enlarged from 8 000 individuals in 2001 to 9000 - 10000 in 2012 (20% of increase). The Karelian lynx population has increased from 870 to 2500 individuals and the Jura lynx population has gone from 80 to 100.

• The wolf population is also growing (12500 individuals in Europe). The Scandinavian population has doubled its individuals, from 150 to 300 in the last ten years. Germany and Poland have seen an important increase, from 19 wolves to 150 individuals now in the last decade. But despite the positive numbers, there are still some endangered areas, like in the South of Spain; where only of few wolves were detected in 2012.

• The wolverine has doubled its population in the last seven years (from 675 individuals in 2005 to 1250 in 2012) with a significant increase in Sweden and Finland.
Source: European Commission, http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/carnivores/

Note to the editors:

[1] The mission of the platform is “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.

[2] The species of concern are the brown bear, the wolf, the Eurasian lynx and the wolverine. The highly endangered Iberian lynx is not part of this initiative.

[3] The eight organisations signing the manifesto are the following:
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
EUROPARC Federation
ELO (European Landowners)
FACE (Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the European Union)
CIC-WILDLIFE (Hunters - Thamas Marguescu)
Reindeer Herders Association
WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature)

[4] EU’s Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) is the overarching legal instrument for the conservation and sustainable management of Large Carnivore species at a favourable conservation status in the EU. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/habitatsdirective/index_en.htm

For further information:

Alberto Arroyo Schnell
Senior Policy Advisor, Biodiversity
WWF European Policy Office
+36 70 61 38 269

Alba Málaga Homs
Communication and New Media officer
WWF European Policy Office
+32 484 641060

Source of the article
Lynx (lynx lynx), Italy
© R.Isotti, A.Cambone - Homo Ambiens / WWF Enlarge
Grey wolf - Captive pair in Germany
© Chris Martin Bahr / WWF Enlarge