The presence of wolf, bear and lynx is centered on the south-western part of the country. With its estimated 500 individuals, Slovenia maintains one of the largest densities of bears in Europe. In effort to keep this number stable, a yearly hunting quota is released. Over the last decades the wolf population has recovered to approximately 50 individuals. The same habitat is shared with the approx. 20 lynx in the southern alpine spur. All three carnivores have established themselves in a relatively small habitat due to the almost ideal living conditions there.
More information about the large carnivores :
To date, the management efforts have mainly been concentrated on the bear and wolves. In order to avoid conflicts of bears with the local community, the national strategy emphasizes the following aspects:
- Surveillance of the population
- Information and prevention for the tourism sector and the local community
- Protection measures in the agricultural sector
- Planned hunting (hunting quota and aimed killing)
- Adjustment of the strategy to zones
The increase of the wolf population and the augmentation of damages to livestock have led to the creation of a national wolf conservation strategy and an action plan. The focus of the lynx population lies on its surveillance, since conflicts only occur sporadically due to very low numbers of lynx. Preparations are on the way to implement additional reintroductions of lynx since there are proves that the current population is threatened by inbreeding.
Slovenia is characterized by its small structured agriculture. In mountainous regions the typically high share of animal products (cattle, pig, sheep and goat, as well as poultry) results in a conflict potential. Many holders of small domestic animals work on their small farms as a side job. Not only livestock farming is effect by the high bear density, but also fruit-growing, bee-keeping and field cultivation. The verified bear damages are uniformly compensated.
In total the damages in the agricultural sector have increased annually since 2005. Meanwhile the damages caused by wolves are greater than those caused by bears. The killed livestock are compensated. The compensation has recently been tied to preventative measures.
The most spread protection measures are aimed at giving protection during the night. Various fence types are utilized to protect the animals from attacks during the night. The animals are often penned in stables or in solid wooden sheds. Relatively few herd guarding dogs are deployed. Shepherds are also only rarely with the animals, as the herds are often very small. Up to now protection measures are only sporadically supported by the state.