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Experience exchange on the management of large carnivores among Croatia, Republika Srpska, and North Macedonia

Last week, a two-day trilateral meeting of experts on large carnivores and relevant institutions from Croatia, Republika Srpska, and North Macedonia, participating in the management of large carnivores and the training of candidates for the intervention team for large carnivores in North Macedonia, took place in Skopje. The meeting was organized by the Secretariat of The Dinaric-Balkan-Pindos Large Carnivore Platform (DiBaPi LC Platform) and the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning of North Macedonia.

During the meeting, representatives of relevant institutions, experts, and scientists on large carnivores discussed approaches to managing the population of large carnivores with a focus on the bear population in North Macedonia. The discussions aimed to reach an agreement on establishing a coordination body for large carnivores and an intervention team, data collection for monitoring, as well as a long-term strategy for bear management. On the second day, the practical and theoretical training for candidates for the intervention team for large carnivores was held at the Skopje Zoo, with the participation of employees from the Veterinary Faculty, Natural History Museum, and the Zoo. With the support of WWF Adria, basic special equipment was provided for the members of the intervention team.

The meeting was attended by 40 participants who actively participated in the topics presented by representatives of North Macedonia: Vlatko Trpeski from the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning and Saša Jovanović from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Economy. Representatives from Croatia, Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and the Secretariat of the DiBaPi LC Platform (Carnivora Magna) were also present. During the meeting, the development of a strategic document for managing the brown bear population in North Macedonia was announced as part of the project "Natura 2000 and CITES in North Macedonia," presented by Daniel Bogner, the project leader. The Macedonian Ecological Society will coordinate the document's development with the support of the DiBaPi LC Platform.

The training for intervention team candidates extended to other interested parties, with 24 participants attending. The use of donated equipment was explained in detail, as well as the protocol for the intervention team's procedures, although weather conditions did not allow for the complete implementation of the training. There was significant interest from candidates and a need for additional training for the intervention team in 2024, which should be officially appointed by then. Prof. Krešimir Severin from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, Croatia, sparked particular interest and lively discussion with a lecture on the protocol in cases of suspected criminal activity and the undeniable need for the involvement of the veterinary profession in such teams.

In the first half of 2024, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, the Secretariat of the DiBaPi Platform, and WWF Adria will continue the education and capacity building of intervention team members to successfully handle field interventions and develop a Protocol for the Intervention Team for North Macedonia.

DiBaPi Platforma

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