Italian and Greek companions within the LIFE Bear-Good Corridors initiative lately visited Canada to study Bear Good Communities in British Columbia. The insights acquired and collaborative ethos developed will improve rewilding efforts.
A productive journey
Rewilding continues to be a pioneering method to conservation, that means many rewilding initiatives try to do issues which have by no means been performed earlier than. This implies data change is crucial if the collective efforts of the rewilding motion are to be enhanced.
Members of the LIFE Bear-Good Corridors (BSC) initiative, which is working to assist and improve populations of brown bears in Central Italy and Greece, gained helpful perception and far inspiration from a current journey to British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada. So-called “Bear Good Communities”, that are designed to advertise amicable relations between bears and people and symbolize a cornerstone of the LIFE BSC initiative, have been first conceived in North America. Between September 18 and 29, the European group – which comprised 16 representatives of NGOs and different organisations and establishments from Italy and Greece – realized first-hand concerning the Canadian province’s very personal Bear Good Communities Programme, which started practically 20 years in the past.
“It was a implausible and actually productive journey,” says Rewilding Apennines staff chief Mario Cipollone, who was certainly one of three Rewilding Apennines staff members collaborating. “The Bear Good Communities mannequin started in Canada, so we wished to see the way it had developed, and to grasp the variations and commonalities with the work at present being carried out in Italy and Greece. The expertise additionally helped to convey everybody within the group nearer collectively, which can even profit our rewilding efforts.”
Right this moment, the Marsican brown bear – a subspecies of brown bear residing within the Central Apennines of Italy – is critically endangered, with solely round 60 people residing within the wild. The Rewilding Apennines staff are at present overseeing and growing plenty of Bear Good Communities, with three already established and extra within the pipeline. Rewilding efforts in and round these communities deal with a variety of measures to advertise harmonious human-bear relations, such because the set up of electrical fences and bear-proof bins, the restoration of deserted orchards, and the event of nature-based economies. All Bear Good Communities are positioned inside wildlife corridors which join key nationwide parks and reserves within the space.
As within the Central Apennines – and in different components of Canada and the US – the objective of British Columbia’s Bear Good Neighborhood Programme is to advertise human-bear coexistence, thereby safeguarding and enhancing bear populations and decreasing the dangers to people and their property. The overwhelming majority of human-bear conflicts in North America happen round human habitation the place garbage, compost, human meals, and different sources of energy for bears are accessible. Bears can come to depend on these assets and turn out to be defensive of them – a state of affairs which is usually deadly for the bear and harmful for people.
A various itinerary
British Columbia’s Bear Good Communities Programme is managed by the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service. Throughout their time in Canada, the LIFE BSC staff visited communities in North Vancouver, Lions Bay, Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton, that are all settlements positioned north of town of Vancouver.
Mario Cipollone was impressed by the robust “bear nation” communications that have been being carried out in these places.“Such communications imply reaching out to as many individuals in these communities as attainable (even when which means going door-to-door), labelling every little thing as ‘bear sensible’, and by no means taking without any consideration that individuals know find out how to behave in bear nation,” says the Rewilding Apennines staff chief. “One other key takeaway from the journey was that it bolstered the important thing function NGOs ought to play in mediating with native communities. Many occasions, one of the best ways to lift consciousness is thru instance and dialogue – not solely legislation enforcement.”
Along with these visits the group loved a number of outings in Canadian nature and have been fortunate sufficient to see a number of black bears and even a pod of killer whales.
Emphasis will now be positioned on constructing on the journey and placing the data gained into apply. The Italian companions met through the journey to brainstorm and crystallise their impressions (and reported their suggestions to the Greek contingent), with one other in-person assembly scheduled for late October.
“We’ll keep related with the Canadian Bear Good Neighborhood and NGO representatives that we met, with the hope we will welcome them to Italy and Greece sooner or later,” says Mario Cipollone. “Strengthening the connection between organisations going through the identical points might be helpful for data change and studying.
“From a human-bear coexistence perspective, there are a lot of variations in addition to similarities between the state of affairs in North America and that in Europe,” he continues. “In Italy and Greece individuals are inclined to have a extra anthropocentric view, which implies they suppose individuals come earlier than animals. The Canadian mannequin can also be stronger when it comes to legislation enforcement. However, the efforts carried out by NGOs and establishments to date in each Italy and Greece are exceptional by comparability. There may be much more work that must be performed, however must be happy with our achievements to this point.”
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