The transboundary network of NGOs in Prespa – PrespaNet, recently published the results of the “Preliminary assessment of Human-Large Carnivore Conflicts and Associated Livestock Husbandry Practices in the Albanian and Macedonian sides of the Prespa Basin”. The study builds upon and complements a similar study conducted on the Greek side of the basin in 2016-2017. Collectively, these studies provide for the first-time standardised information on human-large carnivore conflicts in the Prespa basin.
The study concluded that conflicts with large carnivores in the Albanian and Macedonian parts of Prespa are of lesser concern to the shepherds than other issues affecting their livelihoods, such as lack of subsidies, inadequate veterinary control and services, and the abandonment of the shepherd profession. While in Albania the main reason for loss of livestock was due to large carnivores (mostly wolves), in North Macedonia diseases were the main factor leading to loss of livestock.
Whereas in Western and Northern Europe large carnivores have since the late 19th and beginning of 20th century almost been exterminated, people in Prespa have continued to live alongside large predators, developing tolerance, as well as practices and strategies that minimise conflicts. The surveillance of flocks and shelters at night as well as ongoing attendance during the day by both humans and livestock guarding dogs have largely contributed to minimising damages and losses from large carnivores.
The study concluded that conflicts with large carnivores do not pose a major challenge for the livelihoods of shepherds in Albania and North Macedonia and suggests that any measures addressing conflicts with predators should be carefully balanced against alternatives addressing the more pressing issues the local shepherds are facing.
This study was conducted within the framework of the project “Strengthening NGO-led Conservation in the Transboundary Prespa Basin”, implemented by PrespaNet and funded by the Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust (PONT) and the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation, with support from EuroNatur.
The full report can be downloaded from the following link: https://ppnea.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/LC-conflicts-report_FINAL.pdf