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Human - Wildlife Initiative

Preserving wildlife within anthropised territories

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has historically been committed to working on the issue of human–wildlife cohabitation by supporting a variety of projects around the world. In 2017, the Foundation organized a forum in the Principality focused on considering wildlife as part of territorial management. Following this event, a decision was taken to extend the initiative by mobilizing stakeholders willing to get involved in promoting human–wildlife cohabitation in the South Region – Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. 

The Human–Wildlife Initiative (IHF) was launched in 2020 with the creation of its Steering Committee made up of the French National Council for the Protection of Nature, the Alpes-Maritimes Chamber of Agriculture, the Alpes-Maritimes Hunting Federation and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Bird Protection League.

It includes stakeholders representing all opinions, from those openly in favor of a strong wildlife presence to those who, conversely, see cohabitation as a challenge because it would damage their activities.

The committee is supported by ten reflection partners, including the Mercantour National Park, the Fondation François Sommer, the Mediterranean Alps Study and Pastoral Activity Center, the French Biodiversity Agency, members of the Scientific and Technical Committee and Board of Directors of the Prince Albert II Foundation and a nature writer.

The aim is to identify innovative proposals and specific recommendations on how to better take account of wildlife as part of territorial management. Several large vertebrates are covered: wolves, cervids, wild boar, mouflons, ibexes, chamois, foxes, mustelids and avifauna in rural and mountainous areas.

The initiative makes it possible to help stakeholders in the South Region – PACA to develop specific projects that will improve the social acceptability and management of relationships between wildlife and human activities (agriculture, tourism, hunting, environmental management). For example:

  • Adaptation of farming practices to cohabit with wildlife
  • Actions focused on the compatibility of outdoor sports and wildlife
  • Development of communications tools to promote agrotourism that showcases • wildlife
  • Study and monitoring of wildlife populations
  • Events for schools and/or the general public, meetings with rural stakeholders

The initiative operates via an annual call for projects to identify and financially support actors on the field who are ready to carry out actions at their own scale, for a maximum period of 2 years. Several of the selected projects target avifauna:

  • The Tour du Valat has proposed a project to mitigate and prevent the damage caused by common cranes to wheat crops in the Camargue region;
  • The PACA Bird Protection League is planning a program to reintroduce and conserve cinereous vultures and griffon vultures;
  • The University of Oviedo will study livestock farmers’ perceptions, attitudes and motivations with respect to the conservation of scavenger vertebrates;
  • The naturalist Florent Adamo has proposed a project that will improve understanding and promote conservation of mountain galliformes;
  • The National Forests Office plans to get local sports clubs to dismantle illegal climbing routes in order to protect a pair of Egyptian vultures.

Three project leaders – France Nature Environnement PACA, FERUS and the Lubéron Regional Nature Park – have opted to focus their projects on raising public awareness of the presence of livestock guardian dogs following the reintroduction of wolves.

Finally, two further projects aim to improve our understanding of wildlife. A project from «PACA pour Demain» is planning to produce short videos about how human activities harm wildlife on a daily basis, and a project by Chrysalide aims to monitor the otter and European polecat populations recently discovered in Mercantour National Park.

Phase 2 of the initiative will offer support to new projects and seek to identify, among the project leaders, the most committed actors, who will be encouraged to implement larger-scale projects. The aim of phase 3 will be to support these bigger projects.