Four of the large carnivore species existing in Europe are among the most challenging group of species in conservation terms on an EU level: brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and wolverines (Gulo gulo). This is because of their biological needs, especially their large ranges which cross borders. In addition, they are controversial because they potentially conflict with human economic activities such as farming and hunting and in rare cases threaten human safety.
Local improvements in habitat quality, the increased populations of some prey species, public support and favourable legislation have allowed the recovery of some populations of large carnivores across the EU though the issue is complicated in that different populations have different conservation statuses and different socio-economic settings. At the same time, political, socioeconomic and societal changes challenge past management approaches for some of the populations. For this reason, engagement of stakeholders in large carnivore management remains an important aim for the European Commission. This is reflected in their recent Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy.
The EU Platform on coexistence between people and large carnivores was launched by the European Commission in June 2014 with the aim to address the social and economic challenges connected with coexistence. Together, the platform member organisations agreed to a set of core principles for working together in a cooperative manner to reduce conflict and exchange knowledge and experiences. In 2015, the Commission decided to support the Platform members with a secretariat. adelphi, together with Callisto has been leading the Platform Secretariat. The Secretariat is tasked with sampling case studies on good practice for coexistence between people and large carnivores; making links with other national, regional and local platforms; researching public funding for protection measures to support coexistence; and examining the topic of fear and risk associated with coexistence with large carnivores. adelphi supports the Platform members with the implementation of their work plan, joint communication plan; the organisation of their annual meeting and regional workshops and manages the Platform website.