The Large Carnivore Initiative group (LCI), as part of Species Survival Commission (SSC), had its meeting in Zanen, Switzerland on 23 May 2012. MES representative was a participant of the meeting, as well as the esteemed EU representative, Mr. Andras Demeter, and the Bern Convention representative, Mr. Eladio Fernandez Galiano. What was pointed out at the meeting was the situation with the hydroelectric power plant construction, the new Mavrovo National Park zoning and their influence on biodiversity, especially on the small and fragmented population of the Balkan lynx and its main prey – the roe deer and the chamois. The participants in the meeting who were experts in the field of large carnivores protection and management and carrying out the legislative from the EU expressed their concern about the lack of collaboration between the non-governmental department and the experts as one side, and the governmental structures and organisations in Macedonia on the other side, which will surely result in harming biodiversity in the already mentioned areas.
As possible negative effects prevention, the Berne Convention, supported by the European Committee made several suggestions for the Macedonian Government:
– An action plan for the Balkan lynx based on the approved strategy by the European committee and made as part of the Balkan Lynx Recovery Programme (BLRP);
– Estimation of the Balkan lynx influence on its prey with the projects Lukovo Pole and Boshkov Most and their possible rejection;
– Estimation of the infrastructure influence on large carnivores and their habitat’s fragmentation;
– Identification of the location which have suitable habitats for large carnivores, but are not populated;
– Improvement of the social acceptance of the large carnivores in the areas with suitable habitats for their reproduction and the lack of the same ones;
The Republic of Macedonia is a signatory of the Bern Convention (one of the most important instruments for protection of the natural values in Europe), whereas at the same time it is an EU candidate member, thus having to harmonise its own legislative with the EU’s one and to carry it out properly.
Starting from September this year, MES members working with large carnivores will have the possibility to join LCI and represent Macedonia and the three large carnivores: the bear, the wolf and the lynx. During the meeting, the programme Rewilding Europe was presented, the main target of which is to help in the process of returning (re-introduction and re-colonising) of the wild species in their historical habitats, some of which remained conserved in their original shape and form, and some of them are revitalised (http://rewildingeurope.com/). MES is going through the possibilities and will make effort to connect the initiative European Green Belt with the programme Rewilding Europe.