The LIFE DINALP BEAR project focuses on the population level management and conservation of brown bears in the northern Dinaric Mountains and the Alps. The variety of activities include non-lethal solutions to reduce human-bear conflicts, development of local-based bear ecotourism and promotion of natural expansion of bears into the Alps. Within the project a ‘Bear friendly label’ was developed. The label was designed to award local products and services that contribute to better coexistence between bears and humans. Bear friendly practices include, for example, effective protection of livestock, beehives and orchards, the use of bear-proof garbage bins, the development of responsible bear related tourism programs, and souvenirs that promote bear conservation within local areas.
Bear friendly farming
Bears are curious and regularly seek out food during the bulk of their lives. If they find unprotected fruit, crops, livestock, or beehives they can cause considerable damage. Beehives, livestock and orchards can be effectively protected by electric fences that non-lethally deter large carnivores. Bear friendly products such as milk, cheese, honey, fruit jams and other products produced by adopting bear friendly practices were awarded with the bear-friendly label, giving farmers a sense of recognition for their commitment.
Bear friendly tourism
Presence of charismatic wildlife can be seen as a valuable natural resource and opportunity to develop various bear related ecotourism products. Responsible bear tourism can generate an alternative source of income for local communities in economically distressed rural areas, therefore positively shaping attitudes of locals and tourists.
Irena Kavcic, researcher at the Biology Faculty of Ljubljana University:
“Within the LIFE DINALP BEAR project we have developed Guidelines for responsible non-consumptive use of bears in tourism to set recommendations for ensuring minimal impact tourism activities might have on bears. Bear friendly tourism programmes that follow these guidelines are presented on Discover Dinarics portal, created to highlight best practice wildlife tourism products on the market. Promoted tour operators are willing to give at least 5% of their revenues to NGOs working for nature conservation in northern Dinarics.”
Bear friendly handicrafts
Bears have an important value to people, many of whom, have become connected to bears from childhood through their love of the common, teddy-bear. Bear friendly handicrafts are local products such as magnets, pendants, wooden or ceramic sculptures, teddy bears, and natural soaps. In addition to a bear motif, these products offer some key facts about bear conservation, raising awareness about the importance of species among local and international public.
NATURA 2000 BRANDING
Natura 2000 is the largest network of protected areas in the world. People living in and around Natura 2000 areas utilise these for a variety of economic activities. Designation of Natura 2000 areas often creates additional restrictions though, sometimes leading people to perceive Natura 2000 as a burden. One solution to this problem is to make products coming from Natura 2000 areas better known and more appealing to the public and increase awareness of the benefits these products provide for nature and for people working in Natura 2000 areas.
This website is part of a Natura 2000 branding campaign, stressing the benefits Natura 2000 can provide to local economies. It showcases products produced in Natura 2000 areas accompanied by inspiring background stories about the collaborations and socio-economic benefits related to those products. By sharing these successful and positive stories the campaign aims to trigger new partnerships between site managers, farmers and local businesses, and improve perceptions of and increase support for the Natura 2000 network.
Natura 2000 branding benefits people, nature and local economy