Together with neighbouring countries, Slovenia received 5,8 million euros in funding for a five-year project Life DinAlp Bear. The project aims to improve the living conditions of bears living in this part of Europe and to make co-habitation with this big animal easier for humans. A monitoring team for Life projects is in Slovenia this week, assessing the implementation of the project to date.
For a decade, Janez Kržič has been herding one hundred head of small livestock at Sveta Ana above the village of Podpeč. Through the Life Dinalp Bear Project, he received electric fences and three sheep dogs, which efficiently keep both bears and wolves at a distance. Jože Škulj from Hudi Konec in the Ribnica region was given a fence for his beehive. "We have had big problems with bears; it’s difficult in all areas, because they are even able to bring down our fruit trees."
Helping breeders and beekeepers to prevent damage by these big animals is an important part of the Life project. Members of the monitoring team for Life projects, a part of the European Commission, observed results in the field. "We were quite impressed by the work which has been done by the team during the project. I think Slovenia is probably one of the countries where the awareness of the necessity to preserve the bear is very present," said Francois Delcueillerie, a member of the monitoring team of the European Commission.
One element of the Life project is to provide safe road crossing points for all wild animals. In three localities within Slovenia, special traffic signs have been put up, which switch on only when a wild animal approaches the sensors located in the poles, advising drivers to decrease their speed.