EU Habitats Directive: National implementation of protection of large carnivores

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Series Details PE 751.383
Publication Date June 2023
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Council Directive 92/43/EEC (the Habitats Directive) was adopted in 1992 with the aim of protecting over a thousand animal species and preventing 230 habitat types from disappearing. Human activities in recent decades have caused large carnivore numbers to decline significantly, with complete disappearance in some areas. The recovery and return of these carnivores was one of the targets of the EU Habitats Directive; but this objective has not been without controversy, especially where economic activities have suffered damage from the reintroduction of certain species.

While the European Commission and the Member States have some tools to mitigate economic losses, discussion is ongoing to find a good compromise to ensure both the survival of large carnivores and the continuation of professional activities. This briefing summarises the level of protection of large carnivores across EU Member States, as well as the protective measures currently available to farmers. It reflects the different points of view of the stakeholders concerned, and the ongoing discussions within the EU institutions. This briefing has been drafted following a request from a member of the European Committee of the Regions, under the cooperation agreement between the Committee and the European Parliament.

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