Slovenia bears 2.pdf
28 Int. Conf Bear Res. and Manage. 9(2) 1997
Table1. Signs of brownbearpresence,bearsightings,and sightingsof femaleswithcubs in the outermanagementarea,
efforts for furthertransfrontierexpansion of bears, became very clear (A. Simonic, pers. commun.).
Anotherimportantproblemaffectingthe spreadof bears
throughnorthwesterncorridorsis the recentconstruction
of a highway networkin Slovenia, which began in 1991
withthe buildingof the OsimohighwaysectionsRazdrtoNova Gorica and Razdrto-Koper. These highways will
split the main bear emigrationcorridorat 2 places. Although bears skillfully climb fences constructedalong
such highways, they seldom escape the vehicles on the
highway and are often hit and killed. Fromour observations along the fenced Ljubljana-Razdrtohighway,it appears to take bears a long time to find ways of avoiding
new barrierson traditionalroutes. Fourbearcausedaccidents took place on the Ljubljana-Razdrtohighway in
1992: 2 bears were killed and another2 were injuredbut
escaped. A driverof 1 of the vehicles was also seriously
injured. In 1992 on the Idrija-Goricamotorway,1 bear
was killed by a car, and anotherby a trainin the vicinity
of Divaca (Table2). Bear-trafficcollisions in 1992, especially those on the Ljubljana-Razdrtohighway helped
persuadeplanners at the Slovenian Ministry for Public
Transportto consider installing wildlife crossings on
plannedsections of highways. Traffic-causedbear mortalities in neighborCroatiawere studiedby Frkovicet al.
(1987), who stressedthat bear mortalityincreases when
highways and railwaysare constructedin bear habitat.
The futureof the brownbear in Slovenia remainsunclear. Despite moderatehunting pressureand negative
environmentaleffects from humanactivities,the population of brown bears in Slovenia has not been seriously
affected (Berce and Strumbelj1994). The brown bear
was declared a vulnerablespecies in the recentRed List
of Mammalsof Slovenia (Krystufek1992). The planned
highway and railway corridorsto be built in Slovenia
duringthe next 15 years representa serious threatto the
future status of the brown bear in its core area and for
futureexpansion. Public attitudesare of crucial importance for the survival of a vital bear population in
Slovenia, which has the only sourcepopulation(Pulliam
and Danielson 1991) for the returnof the brownbear to
the Alps. This makes its protectionof internationalas
well as local importance. The futureconservationstrategy for brown bear in Slovenia should include the following: (1) protection of key habitats in the core
managementarea, (2) preservationand improvementof
naturalfood sources, (3) intensivemanagementof hunting mortality,(4) education of local people on ways to
cohabit with bears, and (5) considerationof the brown
bear in spatial planning operationson statewide levels.
We hope that our ideas on the futureconservationof the
brown bear in Slovenia will be accepted and supported
on an internationallevel.
Table2. Reportedbear-trafficcollisions in outermanagementarea,Slovenia,1992.
male 55 kg
male 30 kg
male 49 kg
male 166 kg