In December 2020, Parks Dinarides started implementation of the project "Research of public attitudes about the brown bear as an attachment to the Action Plan for brown bears in Montenegro" which will directly contribute to the development of the Action Plan for Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) in Montenegro.
The aim of the project is to obtain valuable data through the collection and analysis of public opinion on the brown bear in Montenegro, which will be used in the development of the Action Plan for the management of the brown bear in Montenegro.
Through the project, Parks Dinarides will try to educate the public about the importance of the brown bear and the need to protect and preserve its population.
By ratifying the Berne Convention, Montenegro has undertaken obligations regarding the management of the brown bear population in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, the provisions of the Brown Bear Management Action Plan for Europe, and the relevant directives and recommendations. One of the first steps in that direction was the establishment of the Council for the Protection and Management of Brown Bear and Wolves. One of its first tasks is the preparation of the Action Plan for Brown Bear.
Parks Dinarides, as members of the Council, in the previous period conducted a pilot survey of public attitudes about the brown bear on the basis of a questionnaire used in Slovenia and Croatia for the purposes of drafting action plans for the brown bear. The questionnaire, in cooperation with WWF Adria and experts, was adapted for Montenegrin circumstances. The results of the research were presented to the Bear and Wolf Council in July 2019 and were rated as good. It was suggested that the research be repeated on a larger scale and that the results be pooled in order to obtain a representative sample for the purpose of drafting an Action Plan for Brown Bear.
Therefore, through this project Parks Dinarides will focus on continuing the research of public attitudes about the bear in Montenegro through the collection of data using questionnaires, their processing and preparation of reports that will be integrated into the future bear management plan as a part of it.
In addition to this research, the project will work on educating and informing the public about the need to protect and preserve the brown bear. In order to improve the quality of the Action Plan for Brown Bear and its implementation, and to resolve or avoid conflicts between humans and bears, it is necessary to work on educating and informing the public in accordance with the recommendations of the Action Plan for the Protection of Brown Bear in Europe. This will ensure public support for bear protection.
In addition to the general public in Montenegro, a particularly important target group is the population from the area of permanent and temporary residence of bears.
For this reason, the project will develop educational material (infographics) that will provide a clear picture of the bear in Montenegro, its importance and the need for its protection and conservation through the communication channel of the Parks Dinarides. In addition, an informative leaflet will be prepared for the population from the area of permanent and temporary residence of bears with recommendations and measures to reduce the possibility of meeting bears and humans, behavior if an encounter occurs, measures to reduce the amount of damage from bears etc. The leaflets will be distributed to the population in the field.
The project will last 6 months and is supported by the Ministry of Ecology, Spatial Planning and Urbanism of Montenegro.