In June 2021, Parks Dinarides finalized the project "Research of public opinion about the brown bear as a contribution to the Action Plan for the brown bear in Montenegro". The aim of the project was to obtain valuable data through the collection and analysis of public opinion on brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Montenegro, which will be used in the development of the Action Plan for the management of brown bears in Montenegro.
In addition, the project educated the public about the importance of the brown bear and the need to protect and preserve its population through social networks and the media.
By ratifying the Bern 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 Bears and Wolves, one of the first tasks of which is the preparation of an Action Plan for brown bears.
In the previous period, Parks Dinarides, as members of the Council, 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 there. 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 bears.
Therefore, through this project we focused on continuing the research of public attitudes about the brown bear in Montenegro by collecting additional data using questionnaires, processing them and integrating them with the results of previous research on the basis of which the summary report was made. Through further work of Parks Dinarides in the Council for Bears and Wolves, this report will be integrated into the Action Plan for the Management of the Bear Population in Montenegro, which is being prepared.
In addition to this research, the project worked 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 Bears 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 Bears in Europe. This will ensure public support for bear protection.
In addition to the general public in Montenegro, a particularly important target group was the population from the area of permanent and temporary residence of bears.
For this reason, through the project we have developed educational material - 5 infographics that provided a clear picture of the situation of bears in Montenegro, its importance and the need for protection and conservation through the communication channel of Parks Dinarides. In addition, an informative leaflet was 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 and the like. The leaflets were distributed to the population in the field and were also available to the general public through communication channels.
The project was supported by the Ministry of Ecology, Spatial Planning and Urbanism.