A. Preparatory actions, elaboration of management plans and/or of action plans
A1 Kick-off steering group meeting
This preliminary action was completed on 20 June 2014. Two kick-off meetings were finally held: (a) the first kick-off meeting was held on 31st January 2014, in the Town Hall of Grevena. During the meeting some methodological details of implementing certain actions and administrative issues were discussed
and (b) the second was held on 18 June 2014. During this second meeting details on implementation of the project and on the elaboration of the Inception Report were discussed and agreed.
The Action Plan which was the result of both meetings agreement was approved by the Steering Group.
In July 2014 the GIS expert was hired by ANGRE project partner, and has started the elaboration of the GIS data base structure in cooperation with the head bear expert from CALLISTO project partner.
In September-October 2014 the first elaboration of the surveying tool (semi-structured questionnaire) was completed by CALLISTO partner.
In November 2014 the new expert who conducted the questionnaire survey throughout the project area, through interviews, was hired by CALLISTO project partner. The reason why he did not started the questionnaire survey at this period is because the majority if not all of the livestock raisers leave the area by the end of October each year. Therefore it would have been useless to disseminate the questionnaire in late fall 2014 as we would had missed the core part of information needed for the analyses.
In January, February, March 2015, and in order to gain as much precious time as possible, partner “CALLISTO” has officially addressed several public authorities and bodies in order to collect all the necessary background data as follows:
Contacts with ELGA for the provision of 2013, 2014 database on bear damage on livestock and agricultural production. Necessary data were provided in digital format.
Contacts with Regional Services (Veterinary Services, Forestry Services, DOAK, OPEKEPE etc.) for the provision of data on livestock capital and agricultural production. Necessary data were provided in hard copy format.
Contacts with MAVAPNP project partner for the provision of data and the necessary GIS layers. Necessary data were provided in digital format.
During the same period the final elaboration and setting of the questionnaire final structure was completed. The questionnaire (in Greek) contains: seven (7) sections and nineteen (19) questions and it is structured in such a way so as to collect information on bear occurrence and bear-human conflict inferring factors related to bear damage on agricultural production.
In spring 2015 (mainly in May) a pilot dissemination of the questionnaire was performed among several livestock raisers present in the project area, in order to overcome a certain scepticism on behalf of them, but also to evaluate the feedback and the quality of information collected as well as to make the final adjustments in order to make it more operational.
From mid-summer to early fall 2015 (July- September) took place the systematic dissemination of the questionnaire through personal interviews with farmers. The reason of choosing this period is again because it covers the optimum period of livestock raisers presence in the project area giving the opportunity, especially at the end of the season, to have the most representative cumulated vision on damage problems having occurred throughout the season.
In total seventy eight (78) questionnaires have been filled in through an equal number of interviews covering the whole project area. All the information has been entered in the relevant data base which has been elaborated in xlsx format. This data base will be annexed to the technical report as stated here below,
A technical report on the identification - delineation of sectors with high risk of human-bear conflicts with relevant thematic maps and accompanying GIS data base was the deliverable of this action A2. The report has been delivered timely on 31/10/2015 according to the reviewed actions time schedule.
A3 Stakeholder analysis (*.pdf)
Action A3 started in May 2015 and was concluded in September 2015. Data were collected by means of 25 semi-structured interviews and 4 focus groups. Participants included members of stakeholder groups in bear conservation and management all over the National Park of Northern Pindos. Narratives were concentrated on two crucial issues concerning bear conservation and management in the study area. Namely, the fact that bears come quite close, sometimes even within, rural villages. Additionally, a focus was the use of poisoned baits, which might have a serious adverse effect on the local bear population. For both topics, strengths and weaknesses in the heterogeneous local context have been outlined. Interview and focus group extracts were used to conduct two SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses, one for each topic, where Action A3 has been focusing (e.g., bears approximating rural villages; use of poisoned baits). SWOT analyses revealed points of convergence among stakeholders and in dicate potential areas of consensus and agreement. The results of Action A3, and especially, SWOT analyses prepared in the frame of this Action, will further inform Action C1.
A4 Delineation and mapping of a thematic "bear trail"
The action was a prerequisite for starting implementation of Action E9, in which the study was utilized properly (see Action E9, below).
The study was assigned to the Consultants Company SYSTADA S.A. in July 2014 and was completed on time.
Τwo separate reports have been produced, one for each path. Despite that the two reports have a significant degree of overlap, mainly on the general information of the area, this presentation structure was chosen as the most convenient for the continuity of the overall project.
In the first chapter of each report the description of the proposed path and the surrounding area are presented. Also some basic social and historical data presented for the surrounding communities. In the second chapter there is a description of the natural and human environment of the area and information given on geology, climate, habitat types, flora, fauna and land use. In the third chapter information concerning the biology and ecology of the brown bear and the coexistence with human are presented, in order to contribute as possible to the creation of the content of the Environmental Education program. In fourth chapter it is examined whether the proposed paths meet the criteria for an environmental education trail. Finally, the fifth chapter present the proposals for the use of the paths.
The report is also accompanied by printed and electronic maps of both paths on a suitable underlay (resolution 1: 10,000 and 1: 50,000) and photos.
A5 Assessment of the distribution and numbers of bears in the project area
In July and August 2014, a first general prospection of the area was performed by the two member field team in charge of action A5 field part implementation. The purpose of this first survey was to examine the status of previous hair-trap sampling stations and to select new locations. In September, October, November and December 2014 took place the installation of the complete hair-traps sampling network over the entire project area covering a surface of circa 3,400km2. In total 476 sampling stations have been installed (which is 4 times up the initially scheduled number).
The spatial distribution of the 476 sampling stations (hair-traps) over the total project area was also listed with their coordinates in the accompanying xlsx files respectively (see annex in progress report). The altitudinal distribution of the total hair-trap stations is illustrated on graph (1).The altitudinal distribution of the positive sampling stations (with bear hairs) is located between 400m and 1000 m (a.s.l)
In mid May 2015 took place a technical meeting between members of the field team and the wardening personnel from MAVAPNP project partner. The purpose of this meeting was one hand the transfer of know-how on techniques for bear hair samples collection from the hair-traps sampling stations and on the other hand the transfer of all the necessary spatial and geographical information in order for the wardens to work independently.
In late May and June 2015 combined surveys involving CALLISTO project partner field team (in which enrolled an internship student from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (School of Biology) and the wardening personnel from MAVAPNP were conducted for bear hair samples collection.
In September 2015 took place a short complementary survey conducted by CALLISTO field team. It was preceded by a second technical meeting with MAVAPNP wardening personnel for data update. This action did not progress any further due to project financial constraints and premature termination.
In total 261 bear hair samples have been collected and stored according to the given working protocol (paper envelope, in zip-lock bags with silica gel. The sampling stations (hair-traps) with positive findings are shown on map and are listed in the accompanying xlsx file (annexed to the progress report).
The results from the two sampling surveys as well as the total outcome are illustrated on the maps included in the Activity Report for this action, included in the Technical Annexes accompanying the Final Report. These maps show the spatial concentration of positive hair-trap sampling stations (1st, 2nd surveys and total) using Kernel density estimators method.
The sampling protocol has been designed in order to make the collected sample as representative as possible.
The timing of the hair-traps network installation allowed two well targeted sampling surveys the following years (in two periods).
The number of sampling stations and the collected sample size exceeded deliberately the initially scheduled quantitative figures in order to palliate the non implementation of the other two survey protocols foreseen in this action (IR camera traps and bio-signs).
The necessary know-how from the NGS (Non-invasive Genetic Sampling) protocol was transferred to the MAVAPNP project partner personnel through two technical meetings.
The installed hair-traps network is the most appropriate tool in the hands of the MAVAPNP wardening personnel for a long term monitoring of the bear population in the project area.
The preservation status of the hairs sample protects them from alteration thus allowing a laboratory analysis in later times.
A6 Study for valorisation, certification & promotion of bear friendly products and services
C. Concrete conservation actions
C1 Stakeholder consultation and involvement
C2 Training for staff of the National Park and other conservation actors in the project area
C3 Operation of two Anti-Poison Dog Units
The Action has proceeded up to the point of the signing the contract with the Jesus Lopez Valladolid (http://www.perroscontraelveneno.es), the supplier of the detection dogs. The contract was signed on 25/05/2015, but it did not proceed any further due to the general problems and constraints of the project.
Regarding the recruitment of the two handlers from MAVAPNP, with the Decision No 795/7-8-2015 (ΑΔΑ: ΩΝ4Σ46Ψ8ΒΩ-ΘΧΟ) the Management Board has authorized a Committee in order to carry out the specific tender. The tender issue was prepared by the Action coordinator but was pending for the purchase of the dogs from ANFRE.
Being in close contact with the anti-poison units of the Egyptian vulture LIFE (LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152), the co-ordinator of the Action spotted some issues concerning the number of the dogs that each handler will have.
It would be more difficult for each handler to successfully take care of 2 dogs, for the reasons provided below:
The handler can only work with one dog at a time. Therefore the other dog will have to be left at (the handler's) home thus making difficult to look after it.
The case that the handler can travel with the 2 dogs cannot take place, because each dog is kept in a certain crate in the back seat of the car. Since he/she can work with one dog it is dangerous to leave the other in the car.
The daily routine of the handler will take up a lot more time in taking care of two dogs instead of one. Since they are "working dogs" they need special routine and "re-training" in order to keep up with their duties. It appeared a lot more convenient to have one dog and focus on its development through training, than having two and struggle to keep up with their basic needs.
For the above reasons, project team decided to purchase 2 dogs and not 4 as it was foreseen. That decision would also resulted in a significant reduction on the Action’s budget.
Since ANGRE did not implement the purchase of the dogs mainly because of the Coordinating Beneficiary’s decision after the Steering Group of 3/09/2015 to suspend the project, MAVAPNP did not published the tender for the recruitment of the two handlers.
Worth noting that there were instances within the project’s period, mostly working in co-operation with the anti-poison units of LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152, that valuable experience was gained.
This experience will be used in future related activities by MAVAPNP.
C4 Operation of a Karelian Dog Unit
Due to project’s financial and administrative constraints the plain implementation of the action in the project area, involving purchase and transportation of the KBDs from the US to Greece, as well as the entire training phase that had been arranged and scheduled to take place in fall 2014 in the project area, and of course the operation of the KBD’s in the field, did not finally take place. Since this period the action has remained stagnant. The action could be reignited rather easily given the fact that all the preparatory phase with the selected KBD providers and trainers has already been completed. The main issue is to secure the funds in order to cover the fixed budget of this part of the action and thus regain confidence towards the KBD providers/trainers. The relevant Milestones “Acquisition of two (2) KBD by the project, “Training of KBD achieved” and “Training of two (2) staff members from the Northern Pindos National Park personnel on KBD handling and operation achieved”, had to be moved in time and precisely by mid spring 2016. The same goes for the deliverable “technical guide on training KBD’s trainers” which will be delivered after completion of KBD’s and future handlers training.
However during the period between July 2014 and January 2015 further steps achieved in the preparatory phase of action C4 implementation as follows:
July 2014: On behalf of beneficiary partner CALLISTO and in concentration with the beneficiary responsible MAVAPNP, further and more specific contacts with KBD’s speciliazed Association “Jackknife mountain” Karelians (Mrs Charisse Hablenton) http://www.jackknifemountainkarelians.com (based in California, US) were made for further budgeting reconsiderations and revisions.
Further queries on KBD’s specialized institutions based in Europe were made to the following addresses:
There has been only one reply from Martyna Binek – Kasperkowiak, BearBusters FCI, The Karelian Bear Dog Kennel, http://www.bearbusters.pl
Apart from this feedback from the Polish Association (http://www.bearbusters.pl/) no other responses had been received. Therefore and judging upon the quality of offer and services proposed, readiness, expertise and compliance to time schedules and budgets the project partners have decided to proceed with “Jackknife Association” and have entered the finalization phase of the next steps such as: puppies purchase, calendar of puppies education, training and transportation to Greece, in situ complementary training etc.).
August 2014: On behalf of CALLISTO and in cooperation with the beneficiary responsible for the Action (MAVAPNP), further and more specific contacts with KBD’s speciliazed Association “Jackknife mountain” Karelians (Mrs Charisse Hablenton) http://www.jackknifemountainkarelians.com (based in California, US) of providers and trainers, were made for budget finalization in compliance with the budget line of the project.The first rough schedule of the whole procedure had been discussed. The two puppies had already been selected: one male (named Loki) and one female (named Gyda) (see photos 1 & 2) and they had already been initiated in their pre-training phase. The dates of their purchase and their transportation from the US to Greece accompanied by the two providers/trainers had been also finalized for October 2014.
September 2014: During the Management Board Meeting of MAVAPNP on 15th of September, the second handler of the Karelian Dog Team (on behalf of the MAVAPNP personnel) was selected. He was scheduled to enrol the action at the arrival of the trainers and the KBD puppies.
October 2014: All arrangements had been made regarding the arrival of the KBD providers/trainers from “Jackknife Association” with the KBD puppies which was scheduled for October 18th, 2014.Unfortunately this did not happen due to the fact that the financial part of the action was aborted at the last moment by the project.
January 2015: Despite the negative developments regarding this action, project partner CALLISTO pursued efforts in seeking a cheaper formula for the project (given the budget limitations) in order to acquire KBD’s from Bear Emergency Teams in Europe. To this purpose contacts with DIREN (France) and Adamello-Brenta National Park in Trentino (Italy) were made. The French team sent a very useful feedback memo on their experience in using 3 different breeds of Bear Deterring Dogs.
During the last period of the project, there were many attempts and contacts from Dr Mertzanis from CALLISTO and Mr Korakis from MAVAPNP with possible partners and suppliers within Europe. Finally in June of 2016 there was a contact from Italy that a very good litter of Laika dog breed was found and there were 2 puppies available for our project, too.
C5 Operation of a mixed Bear Emergency Team composed of N. Pindos National Park and CALLISTO
The BET started operating on a volunteering basis with MAVAPNP staff and CALLISTO’s Local Assistants due to some urgent incidents involving bear-human interactions: Till late June 2014 the BET had to operate in three incidents:
1) 30 March 2014 (involving a bear traffic collision which occurred on the Egnatia highway segment “Siatista-Grevena” included in the project area),
2) 10 June 2014 (case of a bear cub roaming around the village of Fragades, located in the project area), and
3) 13 June 2014 (repetitive visits and damage caused by bears on large scale cherry orchards near the village of “Amygdalies”, located in Grevena project area).
Due to the project overall financial constraints, the BET reached its full operational status in July 2014 composed by members from both project partners involved that is : CALLISTO and MAVAPNP.
Composed of trained experts from NGO CALLISTO as well as of two (2) staff members from Northern Pindos National Park.
Foreseen deadlines for milestones of the Action, were also moved in time compared to the initial time schedule: “Efficient and successful interventions of the BET in bear-human conflict situations problem situations” and “Enrolment and training of two (2) staff members from the Northern Pindos in the BET operation protocol” started to be effective from August 2014.
The BET has been very active during second half of 2014 and summer 2015, having intervened in no less than fifteen (15) cases, involving:
- Cases of habituated bears management
- Rescue of injured or trapped (in illegal traps) bears
- Technical meetings with national competent authorities in the frame of the national BET operation
- Public information meetings with locals
Furthermore and during late spring, summer and fall 2016 the BET had to deal again with the case of the female bear who had been using the fenced game refuge nearby the city of Grevena, as part of her home range (see previous report on action C5 results).
To manage to resolve this case, several contacts had been made with the local forestry authorities of Grevena and appropriate instructions on the steps to follow were given. In summer 2016, three (3) IR cameras were placed inside the game refuge and showed that the female bear was accompanied by her three yearlings.
This new information was immediately passed to the local forestry services in order for them to understand that the total repairing of the fence and the installation of an electric line on top of it was a mandatory prerequisite before starting any removal operation of the four (4) bears inside. The MAVAPNP proposed to the Forestry Service a ready to operate electrical line, but no further feedback was shown from the competent authority. The actual status of the female and her three yearlings is unknown.
Please note that the foreseen “technical report on all handled cases of bear human conflict situations under the BET operation and intervention protocol”, that should have been delivered by 31/12/2016, has been submitted in a semi-final form on 31/10/2015.
C6 Volunteers against poison-baits
C7 Production & dissemination of an Anti-Poison First Aid Kit
C8 Installation of bear-proof refuse containers and of electric fences into/near human settlements
The supply of 19 electric fences to MAVAPNP was completed on 9 October 2015. Some of the devices were distributed during spring/summer of 2016. Since 2016 was a relatively “quiet” year on bear/ human interaction incidents, the other devices were stored temporarily in the building of MAVAPNP in Metsovo. Some of them are going to be distributed within spring/summer of 2017 to people in need and some others are going to be kept by MAVAPNP to be used in emergency cases and short period occasions (such as until the gathering of the mature fruits of some trees etc.).
The tender for the supply of bear proof garbage containers, although it was ready, didn’t launch due to suspension of the project from the Coordinating beneficiary and to the Request for extension, which was followed the representatives of EC in May 2016.
The Municipality of Grevena (MUNGRE) approved the content of the public tender for the supplies in the Municipality’s Financial Committee of August 2015. The technical specifications that should be included in the MUNGRE’s tender for the provision of the necessary equipment were developed from projects already implemented in the past including project LIFE ARCTOS/KASTORIA (see Inception Report). CALLISTO and ANGRE gave all the specifications details and instructions for the supplies to be realised by MUNGRE.
The tender for the supply of the bear-proof garbage containers on behalf of the Municipality of Grevena (MUNGRE) was completed on 29/12/2015 (see: ΑΔΑ: 6ΡΤΥΩ9Γ-Τ5Ο). The bear-proof garbage containers that were purchased by MUNGRE were marked properly with the LIFE and Natura 2000 logos, as well as the logo of the LIFE ARCPIN project. Until 12 February 2016, thirty (30) of the bear-proof garbage containers were installed by the Municipality’s own services at 18 hot-spots, under instructions given by CALLISTO’s experts (Dr. Yorgos Mertzanis).
The procedure for the supply of electric fences on behalf of the Municipality of Grevena (MUNGRE) was suspended, since the procedure for modification of the project budget had already started, while the National Park (MAVAPNP) had already covered a substantial part of the project’s needs.
C9 Utilization of the LGD Owners Network for donation-dissemination of LGDs to shepherds (*.pdf)
The Action’s implementation started immediately after the project’s start day (21/11/2013), earlier than the action’s foreseen start day (31/03/2014), on a pro-bono basis by CALLISTO’s and MAVAPNP’s staff members.
Grevena Development Agency (ANGRE) and the Management Body of the N. Pindos National Park (MAVAPNP) established an excellent co-operation in order to utilize the existing LGD Owners Network for donation of LGDs to livestock breeders and shepherds. In specific, CALLISTO and MAVAPNP started co-operation in order to utilise the already existing LGD Owners Network (from previous LIFE projects LIFE PINDOS/GREVENA, LIFE EX-TRA and ongoing LIFE ARCTOS/KASTORIA) for donation of LGDs to livestock breeders and shepherds in the actual project area.
Staff members from CALLISTO and from the N. Pindos National Park continued their efforts from November 2013 till the project’s termination date (2/12/2016).
Basic veterinary health care was provided to LGDs to ensure their welfare and good health status. Moreover, the implemented actions supported the livestock farmers owning the LGDs and educated them regarding the benefits arising from the provision of basic health care in LGDs and of their treatment as a key part of the herd.
In this context, actions such as clinical examination, anti-ectoparasite and anti-endoparasite treatment, vaccination, transportation, minor surgical procedures, anaesthetization, wound care, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, provision of advice on all the breeding aspects of LGDs (health care, diet, living conditions, prevention of diseases) were implemented in the field and/or in local private veterinary clinics when needed. These actions are described in detail below.
Overall, this Action implementation was divided in to three main phases as follows:
Phase 1: 21/11/2013 - 30/6/2014
During this period many visits took place at livestock farms and breeders were informed about the project’s actions. During the visits, LGD field team supported the livestock farmers owning the LGDs and educated them regarding the benefits arising from the provision of basic health care in LGDs and of their treatment as a key part of the herd. In that period twenty five (25) dogs were donated in the LIFE ARCPIN project area. Seventeen (17) of them were donated after excellent cooperation between CALLISTO staff members and personnel from MAVAPNP within the administrative borders of the Northern Pindos National Park, while another eight (8) dogs were donated to breeders outside the Northern Pindos National Park (but still in the project area), who are active in areas adjacent to the borders of the Park. During preliminary fieldwork activities (shepherd selection, dog selection, donation etc.) more than forty (40) Livestock farms and breeders were surveyed and registered in the field with a handheld GPS (Garmin GPS Map 60scx).
Moreover, a Geographic data base with the data of livestock farms and the dog owners was developed using ArcGIS 10.1, Map Source and Excel software. In parallel, veterinary visits were conducted in three (3) farms with injured dogs in the field and two (2) puppies that were donated followed veterinary health treatment. Moreover, twenty (20) dogs of the CALLISTOS LGD network were vaccinated for rabies disease. CALLISTO staff members (Alexis Giannakopoulos, Yorgos Iliopoulos) started a co-operation with the Rescue Group of the “Molossos of Epirus” (ancient local race from a part of the project area) in order to introduce another very good “old breed” of LGD dogs in the breeding procedure.
Note please that within this period, Dr. Giannakopoulos Alexis, staff member of CALLISTO acting as the LGDs Network Facilitator, offered his services to the project on a pro-bono basis (voluntary), due to the delay of the Coordinating Beneficiary to transfer to CALLISTO its share to the pre-financing payment of EU to the project.
Phase 2: 1/7/2014 - 31/10/2015
During this period, it was made possible to employ Dr. Giannakopoulos in the Project Team, using the financial project resources. He continued the necessary field work all over the project area, in order to evaluate new LGDs, puppies and adult dogs. Moreover, CALLISTO's veterinarian and LGD field team visited farms from the LGD's network for the evaluation and veterinary care of a wounded LGD.
The Geographic Information System (GIS) data base of the action was updated with new dog-owners data. Moreover photographs from the C9 action ware collected to use them on the project website and other actions. In that period project donated sixty eight (68) more LGDs, of which fifty one (51) were donated inside the project area and seventeen (17) outside the project area, to animal breeders that live in adjacent areas. Counting also the dogs that were donated in the previous period (n=25) ninety three (93) dogs were donated that period. Totally, sixty eight (68) were donated inside the project area and twenty five (25) outside it.
It is worth noting that the original objective of the project’s action was the provision of 15 puppies and 3-4 adults per year in the project area, reaching a total of 45 puppies during the entire project duration. Namely, the expected result of the action was exceeded during the second phase of the project!
Phase 3: 1/11/2015 - 2/12/2016
The Mayor of Grevena had already asked from the Associated Beneficiaries to as much as possible stop spending money for the project, in order to find the necessary solutions for overcoming the financial difficulties of MUNGRE and ANGRE. Consequently, CALLISTO suspended the majority of its project contracts with the employed experts, including Dr. Giannakopoulos’ contract.
Nevertheless, Dr. Giannakopoulos continued to offer his services to the project, in a voluntary, pro-bono basis, again, like in the first phase of the action implementation.
During this phase, the project donated thirty five (35) more LGDs, most of which (twenty six - 26) were donated inside the project area and nine (9) outside the project area, to animal breeders that live in adjacent areas.
Despite the negative developments regarding the project and the serious financial problems, the excellent collaboration between partners finally achieved to exceed the action’s objectives and to contribute substantially to preventing human caused mortality of bears (use of poison baits and firearms).
Moreover, local authorities, livestock breeders, regional services such as Veterinary Services, Forestry Services, Greek Farming Insurance Organisation (ELGA) and local farmers' groups strongly supported the action and had active involvement against livestock-predator conflicts.
All the above contributed to remarkable results on wildlife conservation and management, in a clear and tangible way (not only in theory).
Totally, one hundred twenty (128) LGDs were donated, of which ninety four (94) were donated inside the project area and twenty five (34) outside it.
The Geographic Information System (GIS) data base of the action was updated and completed with new dog-owners data. All the above spatial information from the GIS data base was used in the GIS analysis and mapping in the final report.
Moreover photographs from the C9 action were collected to use them on the project website and other actions.
Unfortunately, due to the financial difficulties of the project, the contract signed with the LGDs Network Facilitator covered only the period July 2014 – September 2015. Consequently, two of the foreseen Annual Reports describing progress of the Action C9 and monitoring findings of Action D3, were not prepared and delivered on time. Actually these Annular Reports were replaced by the Final Activity Report of Action D3, evaluating the effectiveness of the C9 Action (i.e. the utilization of the LGD Owners Network for donation-dissemination of LGDs).
It is worth noting that the Management Bodies of Protected Areas in Greece (such as Rhodope Mountain Range National Park,Oiti National Park, Parnitha National Park, Prespes National Park, Kalamas-Acherontas Protected Areaetc.) as well as other Greek Environmental NGOs (such as Hellenic Ornithological Society, WWF Hellas), after our successful and collective efforts, decided to ask from CALLISTO and the Project’s Work Team to cooperate with them, in order to include in their activities and projects similar actions for the development of LGD networks in their area of responsibility, continuing the donation of LGDs & puppies and developing a broader a network with farmers and livestock breeders.
Finally, despite the successful completion of the action we should refer also to the two main difficulties encountered during the project:(a) to integrate adult dogs in new owners and flocks and (b) to explain to the breeders that the import of foreign breeds from other countries (such as Caucasian Shepherd Dog, or Kangal Shepherd Dog), had negative results such as the hybridization and progressive loss of the indigenous breeds.
CALLISTO will continue to support the LGD Owners Network for donation-dissemination of LGDs to shepherds and stock-breeders, using own funds, grants from sponsors and suitable financial tools. CALLISTO has also decided to continue efforts for including a relevant measure in the current Rural Development Programme of Greece, which could offer crucial and sustainable support to livestock breeders in areas with bear presence.
C10 Installation of special aversive means in hot-spots of bear-human interference
This action aimed at achieving bear behaviour-specific aversive conditioning in situations involving “habituated” and/or “problem” bears in the area targeted by the project.
To this purpose (5) five types of appropriate devices were scheduled to be purchased by the project in order to be used by the mixed BET team (synergy with action C5) accordingly depending on the specific circumstances related to each case.
The initiation of this action would have been possible only after acquisition of the five (5) types of deterring devices. Unfortunately due to the projects specific financial and budgetary constraints the purchase of these devices had been moved later than initially foreseen. It is worth mentioning that in order to compensate the lack of the aforementioned devices, in some persistent cases of habituated bears, where the BET had to intervene, equipment already owned by project beneficiary CALLISTO, has been used (IR cameras, cracker shells, and rubber bullets).
Nevertheless the project team continued its efforts: ANGRE signed a contract with the necessary GIS Expert, on May 18, 2015, while in the first half of 2015, CALLISTO’s experts initiated executive correspondence with a supplier from US – California for the provision of a specialized bear deterring device, namely the bear food trap with pepper spray (see https://www.facebook.com/Curleys-Critter-Catchers-264111013626296/). This is one of the five types of bear deterrent devices which was judged to be the most appropriate for the cases of habituated bears the BET had to deal with. After relevant correspondence we received input on performance and cost of this bear deterrent device from the supplier. The supplier was ready to proceed to the provision of this equipment.
In 2016 there was no further development regarding ordering and purchase of this specialized equipment due to project’s persisting financial constraints and subsequent premature termination.
C11 Radiotagging of problem bears with "shock-collars" for aversive conditioning
D. Monitoring of the impact of the project actions (obligatory only if there are concrete conservation actions)
D1 Monitoring of the impact of actions C4, C5, C8, C10, and C11 (bear-human interference)
D2 Monitoring of the impact of action C2 (training)
D3 Monitoring of the impact of the action C9 (LGDs)
D4 Monitoring of the impact of actions C3, C6, and C7 (poison baits)
D5 Follow-up surveys on the perception of the stakeholder groups
D6 Study for the socio-economic impact of the project
F. Overall project operation and monitoring of the project progress
F1 Management & coordination of the project
F2 Networking with other projects
F4 After-LIFE Conservation Plan