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Large carnivores in the EU - the Commission's activity on large carnivores

The European Union is home to five species of large carnivore. These include the brown bear, the wolf, the wolverine and two species of lynx, the Eurasian lynx and the Iberian lynx. Historically these species have all suffered dramatic declines in numbers and distribution as a consequence of human activity. Due to increases in their prey and forest cover and favourable legislation the last few decades have seen a positive response, with most populations stabilizing or increasing again. A result has been the return of these species to many areas from which they have been absent for decades. At least one of these species is currently found in 21 EU countries.

However, while this recovery can be viewed as a great conservation success it has resulted in controversy in some areas. In response the Commission has initiated a range of measures to encourage cooperation between member states, engaging in dialogue with stakeholders and promoting best practices in management methods. These pages provide an introduction to the Commission's activity on large carnivores.

For more information on large carnivores