Clearing the way for Europe's wild animals

© Gernot Pohl

Ecological criteria should be considered without fail when expanding European transport networks, demand nature conservation experts.

Press Release from April 6, 2009

Radolfzell: Especially Europe's bears, wolves and lynx are threatened by the fragmentation of their habitats. In view of the rapid expansion of road and rail networks, above all in Central and Southeast Europe, this situation becomes more and more precarious. How can the fatal impact on big mammals by building ever more transport networks be contained or even avoided? On occasion of an expert meeting in the Croatian National Park of Risnjak scheduled for April 1-4 2009, partner organisations of the international project "Trans-European Wildlife Networks", coordinated by EuroNatur, have defined clear requirements.

Large predators and their prey constantly run the risk of being run over when crossing streets or railway lines. But what is even worse, many of these obstacles are impassable for them. Wildlife populations are fragmented and split up into small fractions, which in the long run makes their survival impossible.  The central demand of the experts is to avoid the fragmentation of valuable wildlife habitat in advance, i.e. when planning or expanding transport networks. "The best thing is to give animal corridors a wide berth when planning new streets and railroad lines", claims Gabriel Schwaderer, director of EuroNatur. Where this is not practicable, the risk of damage for bears, wolves, lynx and their prey should be kept as low as possible by planning wildlife crossing facilities.  A close cooperation between road planners and nature conservation experts as well as a detailed appraisal of the natural environment of the areas concerned is a must.
"Setting up protected areas alone is not enough. Intact wildlife corridors are essential for the protection of Europe's big mammals. Traffic planning must urgently be steered and adapted to the needs of wolves, bears, lynx and their prey", says Schwaderer.

Background Information:
The project "Trans-European Wildlife Networks", which started in August 2008, is promoted by EuroNatur, the "Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt" (German Federal Foundation of Environment) and the "Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt" (Frankfurt Zoological Society), with the aim to counteract the fragmentation of hitherto intact landscapes in Europe and especially on the Balkan Peninsula.

Project partners: EuroNatur (D), Frankfurt Zoological Society (D), Institute for Landscape Management of the Albert-Ludwig University (D), Association for Bird and Nature, Association for Bird and Nature Protection “Milvus” (RO), Association for Nature “Wolf” (PL), Balkani Wildlife Society (BG), Biology Department, Veterinary Faculty, University of Zagreb (HR), Carpathian Wildlife Society (SK), Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Science (PL)

For further inquiries please contact:
Konstanzer Straße 22
78315 Radolfzell
Phone: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 0
Fax: +49 (0) 07732 - 92 72 22
Contact: Gabriel Schwaderer

How you can help


Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

Sustaining membership

EuroNatur focuses on long-term nature conservation projects instead of quick fixes. With your regular donations, you give us the planning security we need.


Urgent call to halt implementation of Odra Revitalisation Act

Construction will have devastating consequences on the Odra and surrounding areas. 51 projects aim to engineer the rivers, create artificial…

Skavica mega dam: Albanian court to scrutinise special law for U.S. contractor Bechtel

++ Constitutional complaint filed by NGOs accepted for trial ++ First milestone in fight against one of Europe’s largest reservoirs ++ Thousands of…

Growing opposition to Albanian airport

++ Bern Convention calls on Albania to stop airport construction near Narta Lagoon ++ Project in Vjosa Delta endangers thousands of migratory birds ++…

EU Commission targets the wolf

Ursula von der Leyen warns of allegedly "dangerous wolves" - nature conservation organisations criticise misleading statements and dubious data…

Romanian forests: EuroNatur calls for a logging moratorium

+++ Open letter to Commissioner Sinkevičius calls for a logging moratorium in protected areas to end destruction of Romanian forests +++ Fourth…

Controversial airport construction in Albanian protected area casts shadow as far as Munich

++ Operating company Munich Airport International (MAI) is linked to illegal Vlora airport ++ Construction to take place in protected area of special…

Swimming for the monk seal

The Croatian free water swimmer Dina Levačić has been swimming in potential monk seal territories. Her campaign is aimed at drawing attention to the…

Wolf Offspring confirmed in the Black Forest

++ Photo trap image from the community of Schluchsee provides evidence of offspring ++ First wolf pack in over 150 years in Baden-Württemberg ++

Stork Village meeting in Tykocin, Poland

It was an anniversary celebrated in style: For the 20th annual meeting, representatives of the European Stork Villages met for the first time in the…