Damage by bears to beehives is one of the most prevalent human-bear conflicts in Slovakia, accounting for 29% of all post hoc compensation payments for damage by bears between 2005 – 2016. Such negative aspects of bears receive disproportionate media coverage, promoting a sense of fear and fuelling calls for substantial reductions in bear numbers. There is a need to demonstrate viable and effective non-lethal alternatives to killing bears or confining ‘problem bears’ in captivity.
The overall goal is to facilitate coexistence of people and bears, which is essential if the latter is to survive in the long-term in Central Europe’s human-dominated landscapes.
Project activities will focus on the installation and maintenance of high quality, bear-proof electric fencing to demonstrate best practices in combination with a survey of beekeepers’ experience and attitudes. It is planned to install 5 electric fences for a year. Fences will be monitored for bear activity by means of camera traps, tracking and interviewing the beekeepers. We will conduct a survey of beekeepers’ experience and attitudes to improve understanding of the issues they face.