Human-wildlife conflicts are almost always human-human conflicts about wildlife

The European Wilderness Society attended the Pathways Europe 2018 conference in Goslar, Germany in September. This conference focused on the human-wildlife conflict, and the ways that we can coexist sustainably with wildlife in the future. The Book of Abstracts is now available, which includes all talks from the week.

Please also read: Livestock Protection Fencing Workshop By The Naturschutzbund Germany

The Conference

The conference discussed human dimensions of wildlife conflict from many perspectives. Attendees came from all across the globe and talks, poster sessions and workshops covered aspects of the human-wildlife conflict such as protected areas, tourism, citizen science, policy and livelihoods.

Human-Human conflicts almost always overshadow Human-Wildlife Conflict

Large carnivores are returning to many parts of Europe, after their extinction in the past few hundred years. For example a second wolf pack was just confirmed in Austria. Whilst the majority of Europeans have a positive feeling towards their return, the large carnivores are not always welcomed by everyone. This can therefore lead to conflict. One of the main universal themes of the Pathways Conference was the acknowledgement that almost all human-wildlife conflicts are overshadowed by human-human conflicts about the wildlife. Due to the strong human component such conflicts are led very emotionally. The European Union diagnosed this in their report about the main three main reasons used for arguing for hunting wolves.

In Europe the conflict is typicalIy between the representatives of nature conversation, hunting, and shepherd organisations. It is therefore paramount that first the deep-rooted and underlying conflict is addressed. Then strategies can be developed to address the human-wildlife conflict. If these underlying disputes between the organisations are solved, the parties can then quickly agree on measures to mitigate the dispute. This was witnessed by the agreement between Shepherds, Hunters, Farmers And NGOs Agree On Common Wolf Strategy in Germany. 

The European Wilderness Society, alongside many other organisations, researchers and scientists who were present at the conference, is working towards human-wildlife coexistence. Particularly with large carnivores, who also call Wilderness their home. For example on our website we have four ways to solve wildlife conflict, and we advocate for herd management being key in the direction towards coexistence.

The program is online here, and the Book of Abstracts is available below.

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