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Title of the project

Bears and Hunting


The Fundación Oso Pardo (FOP) worked long-term with local stakeholders to reduce human-bear conflicts in the Cantabrian Mountains, signing agreements with 4,500 hunters and set up bear monitoring and  measures to reduce damage.

The main aim of the Fundación Oso Pardo, which has existed since 1992, is demonstrating the feasibility of coexistence of human activities and a wild population of bears in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain. To support acceptance of bear population and increase awareness, the foundation works with key stakeholders, mainly hunters. The submitted project focused on this type of work, and more specifically on agreements with 11 hunting associations (active on 280,000 ha of bear territory inside and near the Natura 2000 network) on banning snares, protection of livestock and beehives, as well as extensive communications activities.
The broad coverage and strong impact of this project was possible only because of the strong social standing, good public relations and long-term presence of the foundation in the project area.

This project won the Natura 2000 Awards in 2015 under the Reconciling Interests/Perceptions category.


The Cantabrian bear population has grown in recent years from 70 individuals to over 230. The project won the 2015 Natura 2000 award for the Reconciling interests/perceptions category


Country Spain
Level Regional
Region Cantabrian Mountains

Starting date


Habitat Types

Farmland, Forest/Woodland

Protection status of the areas

Natura 2000


Species Caracteristics Huntable species, Protected species
Species Type Large carnivores
Name(s) of main species Brown bear - Ursus arctos

Conservation action(s)

Management of habitats and wildlife (e.g. conservation and restoration activities), Research and data collection (e.g. monitoring, bag data), Communication and education (for different target audiences e.g. hunters, the wider public), Enforcement (e.g. of hunting legislation, codes of conduct)


Leading partners FUNDACIÓN OSO PARDO (http://eng.fundacionosopardo.org/)
Other partners Spanish Environmental Ministry (http://www.magrama.gob.es/en/)

Estimation of Human Resources needed

more than 4.500 hunters were involved (farmers and other conservationists were also involved and are not included in this figure)