In 2018, PONT granted the NGO, Protection and Preservation of Nature Environment in Albania (PPNEA) (www.ppnea.org), an initial one-year grant. The grant is aimed at strengthening PPNEA’s institutional capacities through enhancing its involvement in transboundary projects and projects specific to Prespa, Albania, and through improving overall operations and research activities, including large carnivores conservation activities.
A lot remains unknown about the population of brown bears that inhabit the region. The large carnivore project includes installing camera traps and conducting a genetic sampling survey of brown bears, in order to better understand the nature and habits of these animals. The results of these activities will be shared in a future newsletter.
PONT funding will also support a summer school programme to be held in the Albanian part of Prespa, which will focus on environmental education and fostering the involvement of young people from the region.
PPNEA has had a long presence in the Prespa region and has led many successful projects, from raising awareness through to research and monitoring of species and habitats important for conservation.
The grant to PPNEA aims to increase involvement of local people, specifically youth, as well as funding to conduct research activities required in order to design and implement elaborate conservation plans and actions for large carnivores and their prey in the Prespa basin. These actions will address conflicts between these species and the needs of livestock farmers, and will be in line with respective mitigation measures identified in PONT’s Conflict Assessment.
Moreover, the grant also provides operational support for a dedicated staff member who will live and work in the region. The increased local presence will help to better implement the activities, and will serve as a contact point to facilitate the work of PPNEA with the Prespa National Park in Albania and other local authorities.
All activities under the grant agreement are in line with PPNEA Strategic Plan, the PONT 5-year Strategy and Transboundary Strategic Framework (TSF) of PrespaNet.