In the period from September to December 2015, LIFE DINALP BEAR project team organized genetic sampling on the territory of the Republic of Croatia with a main goal to, for the first time, determine the size of the brown bear population using scientific methodology. With the help of thousands of volunteers, 4687 non-invasive genetic samples from an area of more than 20.000 km2 were collected. We estimate that more than 2.500 people actively participated in the implementation of the study.
The results of the scientific analysis as well as the methods and the estimated parameters are described in the official report. Our executive summary (here available in Croatian) explains the advantages of DNA extraction, new generation sequencing and collaboration with Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine (LECA) from Grenoble, France. Our laboratory became the first laboratory to apply their sequencing method in a real study.
The bear population size in Croatia is estimated in the context of minimum and maximum annual abundance. Numbers of minimum 793 and maximum 937 bears in 2015 open up a wider discussion about human-bear coexistence, tolerance and future management and protection measures.
Here you can read our press release; we were happy to see that local and national media were interested in bear conservation issues.