A new study shows that carnivores such as bears, wolves and other large animals have started to reappear in Europe.
Even if Europe is half the size in terms of land mass and double the density of the population compared to the United States, studies indicate that the population of carnivores is nearly double.
A professor at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Sweden, and lead author of the study, Guillaume Chapron, said that the main reason of this resurrection of carnivores could be the human effort to give the animals a place in the society and the cross species breeding.
Experts conducting this study have collected information from all over Europe, with the exception of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, and observed brown bears, wolverines, Eurasian lynx and gray wolves.
Reports have shown that every nation in Europe has a native and breeding population of carnivores with a minimum of one out of the four species mentioned above. These reports excluded Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark. Europe has about 9.000 lynx in 23 countries and 11 different populations, about 17.000 brown bears spread across 22 countries and 10 distinct populations and more than 12.000 wolves in about 28 countries.
Wolverines can only be found in the Scandinavian region due to the fact that they can only breed and live in cold climates, thus Sweden, Norway and Finland are the only countries that harbor all the four major carnivore species in Europe. Wolverines are estimated to 1.250 animals in two different populations on the continent.
The EU Habitats Directive from 1992 was very important to the recovery of the large carnivore species, according to Chapron. He believes that the conflict is not between these predators and humans but exactly the other way around. Also he said that the most important message is that humans and predators can co-exist on other continents as well since Europe has managed to do so until now.
In the United States, wolves are considered predators that cannot co-exist with people, but the black bear is tolerated in some areas where people have taken measures of precaution regarding this animal, such as bear-proof trash cans. Chapron said that if people from California want to have wolves in their state then Europe’s attitude shows that they can have plenty of these animals in California. Also he said that if humans and predators are to co-exist, then the conflict levels must be at a minimum.
Image Source: Animal Corner