COexistence for COnservation (P1198)
Period of implementation of the project:
Phase 1: February 2019 – July 2019.
Phase 2: August 2019 – July 2020
The project “Coexistence for Conservation” aims to study, monitor and conserve rare species of large predators (bear and lynx) in Ukraine (Carpathians and Polissya), as well as to reduce conflicts between humans and wildlife by implementing and disseminating sustainable coexistence practices – installation of electric fences on small local enterprises (apiaries/farms) to protect against attacks by wild animals (wolf, bear, lynx). The task of the project is to conserve bears and lynx (300 and 500 individuals in Ukraine), and to increase awareness about rare large predators among the target groups – tourists, hunters, beekeepers, foresters and more.
Research on the lynx, wolf and bear populations status was conducted in 4 oblasts of the Ukrainian Carpathians and 6 oblasts of the Ukrainian Polissya. It included two main databases – the individual findings over 2000 records and the population number estimations based on nature protected areas and the hunting units data.
Estimations of the large carnivores population numbers were collected from the land-users or landowners in 10 oblasts, covering all territory of Polissya and Carpathians, namely from.
Evaluation of current large carnivores management practices, started with the pilot expert mission to the 4 samplary locations – 2 national nature parks and 2 forestry units in Lvivska and Zakarpatska oblasts was done. The evaluation included expert visits to the selected locations and interviews with the staff, aiming to collect cases of conflicts with the bear and check what management actions there are currently in place.
The choice of the farmers and beekeepers who were provided with electric fences, is associated with conflicts and based on conflict situation map analysis. For example, in the village Lopukhiv, (Transcarpathia), in summer 2020 there were two bear attacks on 3 apiaries, one of which was significantly damaged.
The communication strategy developed within the structure of the wildlife direction in WWF-Ukraine. It includes activities that are envisaged in the structure of COCO projects, Euro Large Carnivores, cooperation with corporate partners Morshynska and Mavka and also include activities that combine them in the structure with projects OBWIC and Savegreen. In general, the synchronization has been made and a detailed communication plan for relevant activities has been developed. A positive image of rare large carnivores was created, the importance of studying bears, wolves and lynxes, as indicators of wildlife, was emphasized, various examples and stories of peaceful coexistence of people and wild animals are given.
According to collected data (official statistical sources), there have been 379 bears, 1.172 wolves and about 563 lynxes in Ukraine (609 wolves, 128 lynxes and 4 bears in Polissya, and about 563 wolves, 435 lynxes and 375 bears in the Ukrainian Carpathians). As part of the field research of the brown bear, 84 DNA samples (excrements and hairs) were collected in 77 of them extracted DNA and sent for analysis.
These results were included in the Single species action plan developed for lynx and improved for brown bear. The Single species action plan contains the analysis of large carnivores’ dynamics during the past 10 years (2009–2019), dynamic trends in distribution, the main threats to the population and analysis of possible conflicts.
To resolve human-wildlife conflict 6 electric fences were installed in 2020. In total, 16 electric fences were installed during the implementation of the project in 19-20 to protect apiaries from bear attack, and to protect high mountain meadow farms from attack by wolves, lynxes and bears. Analysis of the effectiveness of electric fences showed that from the moment of installation, there was no damage to the property of beekeepers and farmers by large carnivores.
Three videos were filmed within the project. Their goal is to increase the level of tolerance to the large carnivores, also to increase the level of knowledge from the established practices of coexistence with bears, wolves and lynxes.
The calendar for 2020 “In coexistence with a bear” was created – about behavior rules for people in the territory where these carnivores live, also the possibilities of coexistence with them.
In order to prevent conflicts with bears among tourists, local people, berry and mushroom pickers, the information posters have been adapted how to live in harmony with a bear and transformed into the infoboard. 21 info boards will will be installed at the beginning of the most popular tourist routes in nature protected areas, forestries, etc.
About the company:
The main activities of WWF-Ukraine are protection of forests, water, conservation of flora and fauna, climate change, etc. WWF-Ukraine mission is to stop degradation of natural systems and build a future in which people and nature will live in harmony.