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The project started in January 2004 and different stakeholders were invited to an introductory meeting at the beginning of the project. The most important goal of this meeting was to create motivation and commitment among the partners to draw up a management plan. The meeting was led by a neutral facilitator. The main issues such as hunting, estimation methods of bear population and contents of the management plan were discussed. The field work was directed at collecting data on population size, population trends, distribution, habitat use, mortality causes, damage being done by bears, public attitudes towards bears, human impact on the bear population etc.

Bears in Mind was able to secure funding from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality through their PIN-Matra and BBI-Matra programme. Bears in Mind was responsible for the overall project coordination and interaction with the Dutch sponsors. BALKANI Wildlife Society was responsible for project coordination and implementation locally. In June 2008 the final version of the management plan was presented to the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water and received approval!