New paper on the “Large carnivore damage in Europe: Analysis of compensation and prevention programs”

A new study coauthored by European experts and led by Carlos Bautista shows that every year European countries pay farmers almost EUR 30 million to compensate for large carnivore damages like wolves killing sheep or bears attacking beehives. Wealthier countries pay the majority of compensations; most of them are due to predation of free-ranging unprotected livestock, which represents 68% of the total costs. Norway pays the most, over EUR 12 million a year to compensate attacks on free-ranging reindeer and sheep. Most countries compensate damages every year but only half of them subsidize preventive measures regularly, the rest virtually omit it. The bulk of all money spent in prevention programs in Europe goes to restructure husbandry practices in countries where reintroduced and recovering populations of predators is growing in areas with free-ranging unprotected livestock. That is the case of France, where prevention costs can reach EUR 10 million per year, including paying shepherd salaries and providing livestock guarding dogs, among other measures. Yet, such big investments sometimes fail to prevent damage and hardly change the farmer’s antipathy towards these predators.

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