3. The management of the bear population
in Slovenia at present - The
contrast to the traditional, but now outdated approach, the modern
management of free-ranging species, based on ecological principles,
cannot be limited only to animal species or just a small proportion
of these species in isolation from everything else that enables
them to survive in nature.
management must include all the animal and plant species, which
are by their nature linked together in living communities, closely
connected and co-dependent on each other and on all the elements
of the area they live in, which includes man and his activities.
this integrated approach, all the modern management measures try
to consider the natural laws which determine and govern relations
and relationships among individual species in a particular community.
management of the brown bear population in Slovenia is not left
to the free market and chaos, it is a part of the integrated planning
system. As bears are a species of special importance, both in Slovenia
as well as in a wider European and even world sphere, bear management
takes into consideration all the factors already mentioned and legal
and professional documents.
The principles of encroachment into the bear population are a part
of this management. It is probably hard for those elsewhere in Europe
to imagine that with the present number of bears in Slovenia there
is simply no other alternative but to carry out regular culls.
this in mind Slovenia, in line with the provision in paragraph 1
of Article 22 and in relation to Article 6 of the Bern Convention,
negotiated a reservation to Appendix II for the brown bear (as well
as for the wolf).
into the brown bear population are carried out on the basis of proposals
submitted to a special commission within the Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Food responsible for game, by the expert services of
the Forests Institute of Slovenia which is, pursuant to the Forests
Act, responsible for integral planning, that is encroachments into
the population of free-ranging animal species and their habitat.
commission is a balanced one consisting
of independent experts from
Department of Forestry
Department of Biology and
Zootechnical Department at the Biotechnical Faculty
the University of Ljubljana
Natural History Museum
Forests Institute of Slovenia
of various interested parties
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food and
Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy
commission is an advisory body to the minister responsible for game
and hunting, that is the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food.
The minister passes decisions on encroachments into the bear population
(as well as other large carnivores), and mainly relies on the commission
for this, even though he has a discretionary right to decide independently.
for encroachments are drawn up by the Department for Forest Animals
and Hunting at the Forests Institute of Slovenia at the end of each
calendar year for the following year. Proposals for the necessary
cull of brown bears are based on the Brown Bear Management Strategy.
proposal takes consideration of all the available professional postulates
and is harmonised with the responsible bodies in game breeding areas,
which are the wider, ecologically rounded units for game management
Each proposal is thus agreed with those carrying out the encroachments
on the basis of the following parameters:
bears culled so far (shot, captured or lost)
damage to crops, livestock, buildings, vehicles and elsewhere
situations involving bears as recorded by the brown bear intervention
on the counts and the assessment of the number of brown bears
that have, since 2000, been carried out two or three times each
year by the Forests Institute of Slovenia and the Hunting Association
(both theoretical and practical) obtained in previous years by
animal experts working within the scope of the activities of the
Forests Institute of Slovenia.
the Minister adopts a decision on an encroachment into the bear
population, he divides the planned quota of the number of bears
to be culled among the bear zones defined in the Strategy and among
the game breeding grounds.
latter further divide their quota among individual hunting grounds,
taking into consideration the criterion that those hunting grounds
and areas where conflicts between man and bear have occurred have
joint quota of bears to be culled is divided according to weight
categories (up to 100 kilograms, 100 - 150 kg, over 150 kg), with
most of the planned cull being in the first weight category, involving
young, immature animals, most often involved in conflict situations.
cull is monitored, and any violations are controlled and dealt with
by the hunting inspectors with the help of the courts.
planned cull includes not only bears that are to be shot - proven
losses in the bear population are also subtracted from the quota.
This ensures that the population dynamics are controlled, as the
planning of shooting alone could lead to an uncontrolled number
of accidental losses, the occurrence of which seems to have grown
in recent years.