Coexistence between human and large carnivores is a challenge for numerous countries worldwide, which is being confronted in various ways. International cooperation, through knowledge and experience exchange, can be an effective mode for identification of the most effective measures for protection of livestock against large carnivores depredation. As one of the principal activities of the LIFE DINALP BEAR project is reduction of human-bear conflicts, we focus a great deal of our attention to reduction of damages in agriculture, caused by large carnivore depredation. That is why we are very interested in international networking, where we can enrich our experience and take an opportunity to discuss the effectiveness of prevention measures.
Thus, we hosted representatives of AGRIDEA last week in Slovenia. AGRIDEA is an institution from Switzerland, which connects managers and researchers in the field of agronomy. Daniel Mettler leads a group that provides substantial national support for livestock protection measures against large carnivore depredation, studies depredation cases, effectiveness of protection measures and educates stakeholders in the process. Also experts from Germany, Czech Republic, and Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in the study tour.
As we have many cases of best practice in Slovenia, we presented some of these examples also on the field. For instance, we visited the Sedmak farm from Juršče in South Slovenia, where the owner, which is also a working dog breeder in the frame of our project, thoroughly presented his work with the livestock guarding dogs. At the moment, his guarding dogs are protecting 150 sheep in his herd. Our guests from the study tour were enthusiastic about rich experience of the dog breeder Aleš Sedmak, and were thrilled to hear that on the farm, they did not suffer any depredation case in the last 15 years. The reason, in Sedmak’s opinion, lies in using livestock guarding dogs and in good management of the herd.
Then, we visited Mr. Primož Rože from Ilirska Bistrica, who suffered a large-scale bear-caused damage on his beehives four years ago. In the frame of LIFE DINALP BEAR he received a kit for protection of stationary beehive and the damage never reoccurred again, despite regular presence of bears in the vicinity of his beehive. Eventhough he initially doubted that the electric net will deter bears from his beehive, he soon found out that this is an effective protection measure, which enables beekeeping also in the area of permanent bear presence.