Wat: IBED seminar
Wanneer: 28 Januari van 16 – 17
Large carnivores in Europe: science, ethics and politics, and the challenge of maintaining viable populations in human-dominated landscapes
Speaker: Prof. Luigi Boitani – University of Rome
During the last 3 decades, many European large carnivore populations (especially wolves) have generally been increasing in number and range size. Several causes have concurred to determine these positive trends, including increasing prey populations and changing human attitudes. However, large carnivores in Europe live in a very fragmented range, often in close vicinity to human activities, and a stable pattern of coexistence is yet to be reached. The number and size of protected areas are insufficient to provide space and habitat for viable populations and almost all areas have high human densities. It is obvious that conservation of large carnivores in Europe depends on habitat suitability and people’s tolerance in vast portions of the matrix. But what coexistence really means? Large carnivores are often deeply hatred or loved, rarely indifferent to human societies. The reasons for the high conflicts with human interests are well known as well as the motivations of those who want carnivores to be fully protected or eradicated. The recent fascination for trophic cascades and rewilding practices have pushed the confrontation on large carnivores’ management to new dimensions of scientific and emotional debates. The outcome of confrontation is always dependent on the mutual strengths of biological, ethical and socio-economic factors. All these factors have wide ranges of variations that allow a great variety of solutions for management; however, these factors often interact in complex and confused patterns and keeping them clearly distinct is necessary to improve the speed and efficiency of finding solutions to the many facets of the carnivore-human interface.