After three years of the Carnivora Dinarica project, a final international conference has been held

The final international conference of the Carnivora Dinarica project was held on August 2, 2021, in Pivka and brought together numerous experts and project partners who presented their results after three years of successful work.

The Carnivora Dinarica project is concerned with improving the conservation status of large carnivores – wolves, bears, and lynxes – in Natura 2000 areas in Slovenia and Croatia. Its main objectives are to address shortcomings in the cross-border management of large carnivores, to reduce the risks for large carnivores and reduce the misunderstandings regarding the role of large carnivores in the ecosystem.

Project manager Meta Mavec presented the project results achieved:

The Interreg project Carnivora Dinarica Slovenia-Croatia has contributed to the improvement of the conservation status of large carnivores in Natura 2000 areas Javorniki-Snežnik and Notranjska triangle in Slovenia, and Gorski kotar and Northern Lika in Croatia. In the project, we addressed the topic of large carnivores systematically and comprehensively. Through numerous joint activities and bilateral meetings of project partners and stakeholders, we have tried to improve cross-border cooperation in the management of large carnivore populations.

Various project presentation activities have helped to reduce the number of conflicts with large carnivores: with the donation of electric fences and shepherd dogs we addressed conflicts in agriculture; to reduce road traffic, we set up dynamic traffic signals on some road sections.

“In addition to these preventive measures, awareness-raising is important for building better relations between humans and large carnivores, as it informs people about the appropriate tools and techniques, and guides their behaviour towards better coexistence. That is why we spent a lot of time on education, taking into consideration the wishes and expectations of local residents” – she added.

The measures established during the project will continue after the project, thus ensuring the transfer of knowledge and good practices from researchers to local practice. The Municipality of Pivka and the Dina Centre will also play a major role in this regard.

The project included several clearly designed communication activities that were carried out over three years. “Effective communication is one of the most important aspects of the conservation and management of large carnivores. That is why we have used various means of education and communication in the last three years to increase the level of public awareness of the importance and role of large carnivores,” emphasized Snježana Malić-Limari from WWF Adria.

Activities included meetings with local stakeholders, development of educational trails about large carnivores, educational videos, bilingual project magazine, guidelines for biology professors and a didactic corner in elementary schools. One of the most complex activities is the establishment of DINA, a large carnivores centre for visitors in Pivka.

Snježana Malić-Limari added:

One of the main principles we have considered when telling the stories of large carnivores is the translation of scientific expressions and expert terminology into everyday language, so that our stories are accessible to everyone. We went a step further and ensured that the topic of large carnivores and their coexistence with people was accessible to the most vulnerable people in society, people with mental disabilities, using the so-called "easy reading".

Dragica Jaksetič, Head of the DINA Centre for large carnivores, said: “Bears, lynxes and wolves need a lot of space to live, and people need a lot of knowledge about them to understand why it’s important to keep them alive. We cannot meet large carnivores in the forest, but we can learn about them in our urban “magic forest”. Partnership in this project enabled us to try and achieve this goal in the Dina Centre with a lot of expert content prepared by researchers of large carnivores. The topic is extensive and current, so the real challenge was how to bring it closer to children and adults in an interesting and attractive way. We chose Nature Guides who decided to use modern technologies and to move away from the classical communication of information, and at the same time used the ambient to keep our senses busy.

What we were not able to tell or show, with regards to the financial framework, will be provided to visitors by our guides through a live interpretation, and the Dina Centre will hopefully be upgraded in new projects by the Municipality of Pivka or its tourism institute, together with partners from Carnivora Dinarica.

Borders between countries should not limit bears, wolves, and lynxes. If we want to contribute to their conservation, the borders should not hinder even the cooperation between all visitor centres on the Slovenian and Croatian side, which represent large carnivores of the endless forests of Notranjska and Kočevsko region and Gorski kotar. In Pivka, we will strive for such cooperation!”

Contacts for the media:

Snježana Malić-Limari
e-mail: smalic@wwf.panda.org

 

Dragica Jaksetič
e-mail: dragica.jaksetic@pivka.si

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About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent nature conservation organisations with nearly five million followers and a global network active in over a hundred countries. The mission of the WWF is to stop the deterioration of our planet’s natural environments and build a future where people live in harmony with nature, conserve global biodiversity and ensure the sustainable use of renewable natural resources, and also support the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. For further information, see: www.wwfadria.org.