Wildlife and Interest Groups - Conflicts and Chances - 23.02.2005 by Christoph Promberger Slide 2 Wildlife and Humans Wildlife and humans have a long-lasting relationship. Most important for humans were utilitarian aspects of wildlife (food, competitors) and mystic aspects (sacred animals/evil animals). In our modern, Central European life, wildlife has decreased in importance and has changed towards a less utilitarian way to look at it. Slide 3 Wildlife and Humans In rural areas, wildlife has a higher importance in comparison to urban areas, but the utilitarian aspect is much stronger. In other countries, wildlife is still an important issue: In North America or Scandinavia, wildlife is an important issue for the broader public and a number of specific wildlife agencies exist with numerous staff and excellent budgets. Slide 4 Who Am I? - I grew up in rural Bavaria, next to the Czech border - Forestry degree (Univ. Munich), M.Sc. study about wolves in the Canadian North A few words about myself: - 1993-2003 Carpathian Large Carnivore Project (Romania) - 2004 own horse riding centre - 2005 new conservation project Sinca Noua Slide 5 The Carpathian Large Carnivore Project A conservation and research project in the east-central Romanian Carpathians with the overall goal to enhance the relations between large carnivores and humans by solving conflicts, creating economic advantages through the existence of l.c.s and creating understanding. Slide 6 The Carpathian Large Carnivore Project We divided the project in four general fields of activities: Research about direct interactions between l.c.s and people Direct conservation activities to resolve conflicts (e.g. electric fences for livestock) Rural development/developmen t of eco-tourism Environmental education and school programmes Slide 7 The Sinca Noua Project Sinca Noua is a small village (1,800 inhabitants, 9,000 ha surface, altitude 600- 1,600 m) at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. The village wants to develop itself into an eco-village in order to conserve the area for the next generations and to enhance the economic situation for its inhabitants without compromising the quality of life. Slide 8 The Sinca Noua Project The project is in its very early stage, but intends to create a model area, where conservation of nature and sustainable economic development for the people go hand in hand and support each other. Slide 9 The Sinca Noua Project Planned activities: - create a large protected area (wilderness reserve) - certification of the local agriculture as organic agriculture and of Sinca Noua as an eco-tourism destination - creation of a small-scale industry in food processing (milk, meat, fruits, forest fruits) -development of Sinca Noua as an eco-tourism destination, services provided by local people Slide 10 Wildlife and Humans Where are conflicts and chances? Hunting Livestock and Agriculture Tourism Slide 11 Wildlife and Humans Where are conflicts and chances? Most important reason for conflicts is a lack of communication and a lack of understanding of each others interests. Where local people are expected to accept conservation measures, conservation managers have to understand the needs of local people and provide solutions. Slide 12 Wildlife and Humans Conservation can hardly ever be achieved by fighting against local people but by creating partnerships. Conservation reaches acceptance, where local people have a personal advantage of a protected area. Slide 13 Hunting Restrictions upon hunting for conservation issues always causes conflicts with hunters Effects: - less acceptance for protected areas - increase of poaching Poaching has always a social component and is a way to articulate protest. Since poaching can be done with gun, trap or poison, it is very hard to control. Slide 14 Hunting Possible solutions to decrease conflicts with hunters: - accept hunting in parts of the protected area - include hunters in wildlife monitoring - accept hunting for various species (e.g. allow a wild boar hunt/year as a big event) Slide 15 Livestock and Agriculture Especially large carnivores and wild boar can create substantial damage to livestock and crops But there are good protection methods against wildlife damage Slide 16 Livestock and Agriculture Still, damage is acceptable, only 1-2% of the sheep are killed by carnivores each year. This is due to the traditional livestock protection methods, still executed in Romania Slide 17 There is no flock of sheep in the mountains without several guarding dogs Slide 18 Livestock and Agriculture Damage occurs mainly, if - the shepherds are inattentive - the camps are too close to the forest - the dogs are bad quality Slide 19 Livestock and Agriculture In many countries, damage compensation is being paid. Unless this is linked to protection methods, it is not a useful tool to mitigate conflicts between large carnivores and the local people More successful is, if money is paid when carnivores successfully breed in an area or when protection methods are being co-funded by the state Slide 20 Livestock and Agriculture Electric fences are the easiest and most successful tool to protect herds or crops. Some data: - costs ca. 500 Euro/ha (~ 7 sheep) - powered with 12 V car batteries - battery lasts ca. 3-4 weeks before it has to be recharged Slide 21 Eco-tourism In developing eco-tourism the following ingredients are necessary: A good story Why should a visitor come to this specific area? Tools to develop a proper infrastructure Tools to prevent unwanted developments A good marketing strategy Get the word out! Slide 22 Eco-tourism There are three levels to work on: 1.The local level Build/enhance the infrastructure Train people Create awareness of what eco-tourism means Organise the people (e.g. Tourism Association) Slide 23 Eco-tourism There are three levels to work on: 2.The national level Get national govt support Get national media coverage (create pride on the local level) Attract national visitors Slide 24 Eco-tourism There are three levels to work on: 3.The international level Get international support (NGOs) Get international media coverage (attract foreign visitors) Attract international funding Slide 25 Thank you very much for your attention!