As part of the project Opazujem-Varujem, in which Slovenia Forest Service and Zavod Kočevsko participated as partners, experts from the Slovenia Forest Service and the Biotechnical Faculty of University in Ljubljana educated tourist guides and locals about responsible ecotourism and measures for coexistence with bears. Thus, the Guidelines of responsible ecotourism and knowledge about effective measures for coexistence, developed within the LIFE DINALP BEAR project, were transferred to the activities of the mentioned project Opazujem-Varujem.
The local tourist offer of bear-watching in the Kočevje region also includes a livestock breeder and a beekeeper, who protect their property from large carnivores with equipment received within the project LIFE DINALP BEAR, for which they also received the “Bear-friendly” label. Part of the funds from the tourist offer of bear-watching is transferred for the purchase of bear-proof compost bins, which were also designed and produced within the LIFE DINALP BEAR project. In addition to the Zavod Kočevsko, Javni zavod Snežnik within Municipality of Loška dolina, also allocates part of the funds from bear-watching to resolving and preventing conflicts with bears at the local level by purchasing bear-proof garbage bins.
On the basis of these good practices in ecoturism, destination Kočevsko was included in the list of Global TOP 100 Sustainable Destinations, which was revealed at this year’s conference Global Green Destinations Days – GGDD, which took place online from 6th to 9th October 2020.
We sincerely congratulate the Kočevsko Institute on receiving the award. At the same time, we are pleased that the good practices of ecotourism and coexistence with brown bear developed within the LIFE DINALP BEAR project, live on in the local environment well after the end of the project.