Bears in Europe

Bears are very good climbers.
Young bears escape from predators by climbing tall trees.
© Markus Essler

Europe’s bears living in peril

Throughout human cultural history, the European brown bear  has been characterised in many different and often contradictory ways. In the Middle Ages, brown bears could still be found throughout mainland Europe. However, in most of their former range, bears have been eradicated by humans. Roads now fragment their last areas of retreat, isolating populations from one another, and road traffic accidents involving bears are on the increase. In Europe, poaching and excessive legal shooting are also threatening the survival of these large carnivores. Together with partner organisations in Spain and the Balkans, EuroNatur is working to increase knowledge about brown bears, to provide them with effective protection and to preserve their habitats.

Brown Bear taking a bath

By clicking on the preview image, a video from an external source is integrated. This will transfer your IP address to the external server. Further details can be found in our privacy policy.

What we are doing for Europe's bears

  • Fighting illegal hunting: In Spain, the main threat to brown bears comes from illegal hunting. Our partners at Fapas patrol bear areas, rooting out poisoned bait and recording instances of poaching. As a result, in January 2020, they were able to put a stop to the activities of a bear-killing gang.
  • Paving the way for bear range expansion: Thanks to the tireless work of EuroNatur and Fapas, bears have been able to reclaim former habitats. In 2019, brown bears were spotted in Portugal for the first time in around a hundred years. The construction of green bridges, which enable the bears to occupy new territories, is playing an important role in this.
  • Securing food sources: We are providing improved food sources for bears, for example, by planting fruit trees or putting out carrion in bear areas. We have also successfully worked to bring about a relaxation of the overly strict EU hygiene regulations in places where carcasses are laid out for carrion consuming species.

I think the future of the bears in the Cantabrian Mountains looks good. There is a large territory as far north as Portugal where the bears can live.

[Translate to Englisch:] Roberto Hartasánchez von Fapas Roberto Hartasánchez, CEO of FAPAS

Analysing bear droppings, planting fruit trees, bringing poachers to justice: There are many different aspects to protecting Europe’s bears

Learn more about our bear projects

Discover more

Profile Brown Bear

learn more

How to behave in bear areas

(8 MB)

Join in and help us!

Join the many people getting actively involved for brown bears in Europe. We are grateful for any donation or active contribution you can make! In doing so, you are supporting an independent and networked civil society in Europe, which is campaigning vigorously to protect Europe’s bears. Please help us any way you can!

How you can help


Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please help anyway you can. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to protect brown bears in Europe.

Bear sponsorship

Once widespread throughout Europe, brown bears now only live in mountain regions that are difficult to access. Help protect bears and their habitats.


Don’t be afraid of the wolf

For the first time in more than 100 years, the presence of a female wolf has been verified in the Black Forest. Since two male wolves already live in…

New Brown bear project just started

An important step for the protection of the Dinaric-Pindos bear population: In close cooperation with our partners in the Balkans and the Italian…

Mother bear murdered in Montenegro

Poachers in Montenegro have shot dead the mother of two young brown bear cubs - a particularly dramatic case of wildlife crime, which has seen a…

Wolf population in West Poland still not secure despite growth in numbers

A long-term study on the spread of wolves into West Poland, which has just been published, makes clear that, despite the continuing growth in numbers…

Boom in illegal trade in animals in Albania

Despite a ban on hunting, numerous wild animals are being killed or traded in Albania; stuffed Balkan lynx, brown bears in cages, wild game on the…

“Bear Killer Gang” sentenced

In northern Spain, members of an organised group of poachers from the province of Palencia were convicted - an important success for bear protection.

Female Balkan lynx fitted with tracking device

Our partners from the North Macedonian nature conservation organisation MES have fitted a Balkan lynx with a tracking device. The female, named…

EU becomes active for Romania's primeval forests

EU announces legal action against Romania for illegal logging of Europe’s last natural forests.


ECJ Judgement: No Relaxation of Protection for Wolves

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has placed very tight constraints on the granting of permits allowing wolves to be shot. In their ruling on 10…

New figures: More wolf packs in Western Poland

++ Results of wolf monitoring show at least 95 settled packs ++ Sudetes are also wolf territory again ++

New home in Croatia for Romanian lynx

Doru, a four-year-old lynx from the Romanian Carpathians, has been released back into the wild in the Risnjak National Park in Croatia. Doru is the…

Reunited with Maya

On 18 March last year, a female Balkan lynx called Maya was fitted with a tracking device. Over the past year, this has been providing scientists from…

Mavrovo-Nationalpark: Demand for a halt to construction of hydroelectric power plants

Bern Convention: Macedonian government requested to halt construction of hydropower plants in national park

Ray of hope for Balkan Lynx

The Balkan Lynx has to be strictly protected as a distinct subspecies of the Eurasian Lynx. This decision has been adopted unanimously at the meeting…