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Die Bären von Slovenien

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culling bears in Slovenia


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... und was davon zu halten ist, können Sie hier lesenDie Bären von Slovenien - Politischer Erklärungsversuch zur Legitimation der Bären-Jagd

Clarification of the brown bear cull in Slovenia in 2002 for the Bern Convention Standing Committe Meeting

Written by: Marko Jonozovic, BSC Forestry
Head of the Department for Wildlife Slovenia Forest Service
Jože Sterle for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food
Mladen Berginc for the Ministry of the Environment,
Spatial Planning and the Energy


1. Introduction

The bear in Slovenia - yesterday, today and tomorrow - is not an issue that the Slovene or the European public, particularly those concerned about the fate of the scarce bear population in Europe, need to raise.

There is no reason for concern, either professionally or politically, even though at first sight it may seem that the brown bear population management strategy as a whole and in part lies outside the domestic legal, professional and moral or ethical norms, comparable to those in Europe.

The Slovenian brown bear population (Ursus arctos) is one of the most vital in Europe, with an expanding habitat and strongly increasing numerically. That this is really the case can be demonstrated by the facts and parameters concerning the bear population, which are presented below.

2. The conservation and protection of the bear in Slovenia, past and present

Bear protection in Slovenia, particularly in the area known as the High Karst, is traditional and permanent. Its beginnings go back to the 19th century when elsewhere, that is in most parts of Europe, bears were being persecuted and, finally, exterminated.

The first initiatives for the protection of bears came from the private estates of large landowners and, even if we ignore the reasons for it, the "Ordinance on the Protection of bears in the Kocevje, Crnomelj, Novo mesto, Logatec and Ljubljana Districts", dating from 1935, effected a ban on the shooting and killing, as well as buying and selling of bears, which represented one of the first measures taken for the protection and preservation of bears in Europe and the first attempt at demarcating the various bear habitat zones in Slovenia.

The protection of bears on Slovene territory was maintained in all the legislation relating to hunting from the end of the Second World War to the present.

The bear has always had the status of a protected, but at the same time a game species, the granting of permission for the culling of which has always been planned and in line with a top-down approach (the state - game breeding area - hunting ground), recognising and taking into consideration the specific ecology of bears.

Mention should be made here of the Decision adopted in 1966, which defined a special 'bear region' in Slovenia, encompassing most of the central area of the bear's habitat.

These are the foundations on which the present legal documents for the protection of bears in Slovenia are based. In 2001, the "Brown Bear Management Strategy in Slovenia" was drawn up and then adopted in 2002 by the Government.

This is a strategy for the management of free-ranging species, based on scientifically founded ecological principles and involving considered and mutually complementary legal and administrative measures in the fields of culture, sociology and the economy with the intention of preserving the bear and its natural habitat.

It allows animals to live in the way that nature intended, ensuring a sustainable use that man can expect from this part of living nature, whilst also facilitating the bear's coexistence with man.

For the strategy to succeed, measures based on it must be adapted to the ecological characteristics of the environment and the historical socio-economic conditions in Slovenia. The purpose of the management of the brown bear population in Slovenia is to determine the aims and goals as well as the measures for the protection of this species and its habitat, as well as measures facilitating the coexistence of man and bear. The strategy is based on two fundamental postulates:

Brown bear - a living being and biological species

The bear, like other free-living plant and animal species on the territory of Slovenia has, for ecological and ethical reasons, a right to exist. Large carnivores, of which the bear is one, are an important part of biotic diversity - in their own right and because of the role they play at the top of the food pyramid.

Brown bear - man

The brown bear is an animal species which needs a large habitat and lives in areas also populated by people. There is almost no place where man is not present. The bears' prey can include domestic animals and, potentially, bears can be dangerous to man.

The protection and preservation of bears is therefore possible alongside coexistence with man and with the provision of measures enabling this.
The two, completely equal, goals of the strategy are:

  • the long-term preservation of the brown bear species in Slovenia, including its habitat and

  • ensuring the coexistence of man and bear

In the Strategy, the territory of Slovenia is divided into 4 basic "bear" areas:

  • a central area

  • a marginal area

  • a transit (corridor) area

  • an area of occasional bear presence

Each of these areas has a different regime with regard to both goals of the strategy: the preservation of the bear and its habitat and the creation of suitable conditions for the coexistence of man and bear.

These regimes are reflected through both the protection of and encroachments on the population, as well as the adaptation of man and his activities (local population, farming, forestry, tourism, infrastructure, etc.) to coexistence with bears.

Presently, the greatest difficulties Slovenia has in the setting up of regimes of bear population management are in the transit area, where we face on the one hand the clearly expressed standpoints and expectations of the international public, particularly in neighbouring countries, and on the other the way this area is used and the difficulties arising from this in relation to the presence of bears in Slovenia.

The foundations of the Strategy take into account all the legal postulates, both with respect to Slovenian, as well as European and international legislation - the most important undoubtedly being the Bern Convention with its action plan for the brown bear population in Europe.

In 2002, an action plan based on the Strategy was created for the Slovenian bear population, which is now being adopted and implemented. The action plan takes into consideration and includes all those points contained in the European action plan referring to Slovenia.

Let us mention here that in 2002 a workshop for the Dinaric and Pindos area on the implementation of the action plan points for individual countries, organised by LCIE (Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe), was held in the Risnjak National Park in Croatia.

The workshop was intended for representatives of the countries between Slovenia and Greece, that is from the unified ecological habitat of the so-called Alps-Dinaric-Pindos brown bear population. Slovenia presented its brown bear management strategy to the nine countries participating at the workshop and was the only country there to have a strategy which is fully set up and officially adopted at state level. During the review of the individual points of the European action plan for individual countries, it was established that, with the exception of three points, Slovenia is fulfilling the action plan in its entirety.

3. The management of the bear population in Slovenia at present

Click here

4. Conclusions

On the basis of the above we can conclude that:

  • The population of the brown bear in Slovenia is in a "favourable position" (stable) and not threatened either in the short or long-term. The population size is increasing and the area where bears can be found is widening

  • It has been empirically established that an increment of 2 cubs per female in a population of 500-700 bears means an annual increment of 100-150 bears. Following the increase in the number of bears in the past decade, the encroachment at a level of 15% of the estimated population in 2002 is the first radical one and includes bears eliminated by all possible causes

  • The number of bears in the total culling quota actually shot is falling, while the number of animals exceptionally culled in conflict situations and the number of bears lost, particularly in road and rail accidents, is growing

  • Instances of damage incurred by bears and the number of conflicts with man are increasing, causing the image of this species to be perceived in a progressively negative way. In the last five years, 3 serious incidents involving a bear attack on a person resulting in serious bodily harm have been recorded. As a consequence of this, there is the strong possibility of the unlicensed hunting of bears, that is completely uncontrolled encroachments into the bear population

  • The species is above the sustainability threshold for its environment and the areas in which bears appear in Slovenia could not sustain a larger population.

    In its management of the brown bear, Slovenia is respecting international regulations, including all the documents and plans involving the international area, as well as the ecologically integral Eastern Alps-Dinarics-Pindos area, but at this particular point in time, a greater encroachment into the population has to be a reality, too.

This is also one of the measures set out in the adopted Brown Bear Management Strategy and the action plan based on it. The implementation of most of the other measures ensuring the achievement of the two strategy goals will be carried out by Slovenia using its own knowledge and resources and, of course, in this it will take advantage of definitely required international help (for example, LIFE projects, etc.).

We shall (as we are already doing) take into account the integrity of the measures aimed at solving the problems, which does not involve just the culling of bears, but also the implementation of a whole range of measures in the brown bear habitat (feeding, habitat improvement, prevention relating to the breeding of small livestock, illegal refuse dumps, etc.).

Auszug in deutsch


Quelle: tierlieb.net/CIFAM/ Written by: Marko Jonozovic, BSC Forestry

Petition an die rumänsiche Regierung - Bei Klick zum Text auf deutsch

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