There are too many wolves and bears, European farmers complain – POLITICO

EU conservation legislation has been too successful in protecting large carnivores like wolves and bears and has wreaked havoc on commercial activities and other species, argue European farmers, landowners and hunters.

“Due to continued successful conservation efforts, certain populations of large carnivore species are increasingly causing conflict,” the groups said in a statement Joint Statementand laments that EU legislation prevents them from implementing species management measures and helping to “reduce serious conflicts with livestock, people and biodiversity-rich landscapes”.

The organizations argue that some large carnivores in the EU “no longer need strict protection” as “they are no longer considered endangered or vulnerable”. and conservation status.

That angers environmentalists, who see it as an attempt to weaken what they say is a long-standing and efficient piece of EU legislation.

“It’s basically just scaremongering and hate,” said Ariel Brunner, head of EU policy at NGO BirdLife Europe, calling the effort “absurd” and “shameful”.

Some large carnivores have been “extinct” in many EU countries, he said, making their comeback a “great conservation success story”. He also noted that the animals are vital to ecosystems: Wolves, for example, help regulate populations of herbivores that “otherwise become too numerous and damage natural vegetation … and crops.”

Instead of changing EU nature-restoration laws, a mix of preventive measures, including electric fences, and compensation for farmers could solve the problem, he said.

Pekka Pesonen, secretary-general of farmers’ association Copa-Cogeca, said in an emailed statement to POLITICO that the “rapid increase” in large carnivores “poses a critical burden on the safety, productivity and stress of many herds and farmers.”

The Union estimates there are 14,500 to 18,200 wolves in the EU – up to 12,300 In 2013.

“We don’t want to weaken EU nature protection, we want European citizens to be protected and the lives of our livestock and the livelihoods of our farmers respected,” he said.

The push comes as Brussels seeks to increase its conservation targets. As part of his biodiversity strategyIt plans to place 30 percent of the bloc’s land and sea under protected status by 2030, with 10 percent under strict protection.

The Commission should also make nature restoration legally binding in EU countries. The regulation, originally due to be unveiled on Wednesday, has been postponed to “before the summer”, according to a draft agenda of the College of Commissioners dated March 20 obtained by POLITICO.

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