The seminar on large carnivores in the Barents region, held in the beginning of March in Svansele, Sweden, was very successful attracting almost 50 people, says moderator Tomas Hallberg, Head of International Barents Secretariat. This audience included regional representatives, indigenous peoples, mass media and of course experts, who are doing research on these wildlife species both in their home countries and across the borders. One of the invited experts Camilla Wikenros from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences noted that the seminar was held in a professional and friendly atmosphere, even though the subject is full of conflicts caused by the predators in different areas of our societies.
The idea to hold such a seminar was initially proposed by three governors in the Barents Regional Council meeting held in autumn 2017 in Arkhangelsk. The task to prepare this seminar was then given to the Regional Committee.
Governor of Västerbotten Magdalena Andersson, being a host of this seminar, stated in the opening speech, that there are big differences in the views of and laws on predators in the four countries in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. Now the Barents regions are hoping for increased cooperation on the issues. Minister on Natural Resources of Arkhangelsk region Alexander Erulik, who could not come to Sweden due to illness, sent his greetings to the seminar attendants emphasizing the growing number of cases when brown bears and wolfs are approaching residential areas in his home region. The total number of brown bear is estimated to be 18 thousand individuals there.
County Councillor Tomas Norvoll from Norland proposed to establish an Ad-Hoc Working Group to deal with this common challenge in the Barents region. He hopes that this seminar was a stepping stone to relaunch a closer cooperation in the Barents region on large carnivores. The importance of engaging Russian specialists in further work on monitoring predators was discussed in the seminar and the organizers came up with an idea to hold a follow-up event in Arkhangelsk next time.
Listen to Magdalena Andersson, Governor of Västerbotten and Tomas Hallberg, Head of IBS explaining the aim of the seminar (in Swedish):
You may find presentations of the speakers and panelists here: