Protecting Bears in Greece

Stopping habitat fragmentation

In Greece it is above all the fragmentation of the bears' habitats through road construction that is the most urgent issue. Every year Greek brown bears are killed in collisions with vehicles on the roads. In 2008 and 2009 alone five percent of the bear population died in this way. There are two populations, isolated from one another, the one in the west being the larger of the two. About 200 kilometres to the east on the border to Bulgaria is the other, smaller population.

Admittedly, concentrated protection measures by local nature conservation organisations are visibly improving the situation: the numbers of bears have been rising over the last two decades, their range widening as the bears re-conquer their original habitats. However the construction of the trans-European road network threatens to undermine this development. The wide motor-ways cut across the bears' habitats forming insurmountable barriers to movement. The sub-populations, small enough already, are so split and further divided that they will not be able to survive in the long term.

For these reasons EuroNatur supports:

  • Genetic analyses in order to gain a clearer picture of the present distribution and dispersal1 routes of brown bears in Greece.
  • Studies to gauge the negative effect of roads on bear mobility and on genetic exchange between sub-populations.
  • The development of concepts for the prevention of the destruction of further important ecological corridors and ideas for achieving a genuine reduction in the negative impact of highways such as the Via Egnatia on the brown bears of Greece.

Partner: Callisto

Sponsoring: EuroNatur donors and sponsors

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"Brown bear (Ursus arctos) conservation and genetics in northern Greece" (PhD study by Charilaos Pilides, University of Bristol)

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Website of the greek environmental organisation "Callisto"

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