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The LIFE EX-TRA (Experience-Transfer) Project “Improving the conditions for large carnivore conservation - a transfer of best practices” was an initiative that took place in four countries and that was cofunded by the European Commission in the frame of the LIFE Programme. The general objective of the project was the exchange of experiences between different South-East European countries (Romania, Bulgaria and Greece) and three protected areas in Italy, in order to increase the knowledge about the best practices for the conservation of wolves and bears. In fact, the project aimed to improve the attitudes and the know-how of all the actors involved in various fundamental aspects of carnivore conservation such as: biological, ecological and behavioural issues, interactions with other species, conflict management and involvement of different interest groups.

The idea of the project has developed from the experiences gathered in frame of the previously developed LIFE COEX Project “Improving Coexistence of Large Carnivores and Agriculture in Europe” (LIFE04NAT/IT/000144) (www.life-coex.net), which has taken place from 2004 to 2008. This project has made big efforts and provided consistent experience in the prevention of damage caused by large carnivores on livestock. This has been done by trying to understand the needs of local farmers and by disseminating the use of effective damage prevention methods such as fencing systems and livestock guarding dogs.

In this context the LIFE EX-TRA project aimed at transferring good practices to newly involved areas and to share the experiences previously gained by the international project partners.

The leading beneficiary of the project was Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park, Italy

The partners were:

Italy: Monti Sibillini National Park and Appennino Tosco-emiliano National Park

Romania: Faculty of Silviculture of the University of Brasov, Romania

Bulgaria: NGO Balkani Wildlife Society and Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water

Greece: CALLISTO Wildlife and Nature Conservation Society (NGO)


The project took place in the following areas:


Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park (IT7110202, IT7110209, IT7120213, IT7120201, IT7130024, IT6020025, IT6020002, IT5340007, IT5340008, IT5340009, IT5340010, IT5340012, IT5340018)

Monti Sibillini National Park (IT5330001, IT5330002, IT5340019, IT5330005, IT5330017, IT5330003, IT5330004, IT5340020, IT5330006, IT5340016, IT5330007, IT5340017, IT5340014, IT5340012, IT5330023, IT5330008, IT5340013, IT5210059, IT5210052, IT5210051, IT5210046)

Appennino Tosco-emiliano National Park (IT5120002, IT5110003, IT5110005; IT5110002, IT5120001, IT5110004, IT5120003, IT4020004, IT4020005, IT4030001, IT4030002, IT4030003, IT4030004, IT4030005, IT4030006, IT4030008)

Romania: Herculian ROSCI0091– a Natura 2000 site for large carnivores; Dalnic – an hilly area with high densities of large carnivores and significant livestock grazing activities; Sacele – a large carnivore typical mountain area partially included in two Natura 2000 sites: ROSCI0038 Ciucas and ROSCI0195 Piatra Mare

Bulgaria: Sredni and Zapadni area in Rhodopi Mountains (BG0001031 and BG0001030), Pirin Mountains National Park (BG0000209), Central Balkan National Park (BG0000494), Rila Mountains (BG0000495)

Greece: three Natura 2000 sites located in Thessaly, Prefecture of Trikala: GR1440001 “Aspropotamos” (22.853 Ha), GR1440002 – “Kerketion Oros (Koziakas)” (45.000 Ha), and GR1440003 – “Antichasia Ori – Meteora” (56.136 Ha).

Credits: Annette Mertens


Credits: Umberto Di Nicola - PNGSL Archive


Credits: George Predoiu


Credits: Constantinos Godes


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