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EU funding and large carnivores

The EU provides financial aid to farmers, livestock breeders and other rural actors through the EU Common Agricultural Policy. Some of the funding can be used to support farmers in preventing or reducing livestock depredation by large carnivores.

© Ćirović
EU funding

EU funding and large carnivores

The EU provides financial aid which can be used to protect livestock, hives and crops against large carnivores. The measures most commonly funded include livestock guarding dogs, fencing and shepherding. EU funding cannot be used to compensate for damages caused by large carnivores. This can be paid through state aid.

In their Prioritised Action Frameworks (PAFs), Member States describe their intentions for financing the Natura 2000 network, connectivity and green infrastructure and species measures, including reduction of human wildlife conflict and promotion of coexistence.

Different EU funds can be used for such measures. The most common of these are:

Both LIFE and Interreg, are appropriate funding sources for projects which try out new or innovative approaches, often in a restricted geographical area. Both require the submission of a project idea with multiple partners by a particular deadline.

LIFE is a funding instrument focused on the environment and biodiversity. Often LIFE projects combine different aspects of large carnivore conservation, communication and coexistence. Since 1992 the LIFE programme funded more than 170 projects dealing with large carnivores. For more information visit the LIFE Public Database (insert "wolf", "brown bear", "lynx", "wolverine" in search bar) or find an overview of large carnivore-related LIFE projects here.

Interreg focuses on specific regional challenges and can include projects which focus on nature but which often also have social dimensions.

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) supports farmers, livestock breeders and other rural actors to reach a range of social, environmental and economic goals. Member States can choose to use a portion of this funding to support farmers experiencing livestock depredation by large carnivores. For broader role out of basic protection measures which have already been trialled through projects, the CAP is the most appropriate instrument.

Member States implement the CAP through their CAP strategic plan (CSP). These plans combine a wide range of targeted interventions addressing the Member States’ specific needs and delivering tangible results in relation to 9 EU-level objectives, while contributing to the Green Deal ambition.

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Use of the CAP for preventing livestock depredation across the EU

The CAP is funded through two financial instruments. The European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) is 100% financed by the EU. The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is co-financed by the member state or region.

In the CAP 2023-27, the most commonly used interventions under the CAP are the following:

Rural Development interventions (EAFRD)

  • Investments (art 73) – for example purchasing livestock guarding dogs, purchasing fencing, housing for shepherds
  • Agri-environment-climate commitments (art 70) – maintenance payments (additional costs and income foregone) for the above and unharvested crops

Interventions under direct payments (EAGF)

Under the 2023-2027 CAP there is greater potential to fund coexistence measures with the European Agricultural Guarantee fund (EAGF). The most relevant articles are:

  • Ecoschemes (art 31) are annual payments, as opposed to the multi-annual payments for many rural development activities. The European Commission published a list of potential practices that can be included in the ecoschemes. Some of these could potentially be used as additional support to livestock breeders coexisting with large carnivores e.g. shepherding on open spaces and between permanent crops, transhumance and common grazing.
  • Other sectoral based measures may be relevant to large carnivores, in particular, measures related to supporting apiculture (art 55) which can be used to reduce damage by bears.

Most relevant interventions

The most relevant interventions for good practices for coexistence are summarised in the table below (see the report (based on the previous programming period for a fuller description of the measures and good practice categories).


Type of ActionExampleIntervention* from the CAP Strategic Plans
Advice and awareness raisinge.g. advisory services / training, campaigns

Farm advisory service (general requirement)

Knowledge exchange and information (78)
Innovative financinge.g. ecotourism, ecolabellingInstallation of rural businesses (75)
Practical support (investment)e.g. buying: livestock guarding dogs, fencing, shelter for livestock, shepherding housing, acoustic / visual deterrants

Investment (73)

(Potential sectoral interventions apiculture COOPAPI 55)

Practical support (maintenance)e.g. upkeep of above, support for traditional practices, grazing management

Ecoscheme (31)

Agri-environment-climate (70)

Areas with specific disadvantage (72)
Risk managemente.g. contribution to insurance schemesRisk management (76)

Collaboration between stakeholders

Pilot projects
Cooperation measures including EIP-Agri and LEADER (77)

* The intervention numbers refer to the relevant article in the CAP SP regulation (Regulation (EU) 2021/2115)

Engaging with the CAP Strategic Plans

If measures to manage coexistence are included in a Member States CAP Strategic Plan, potential beneficiaries can apply for them and receive support. If they are not included, the plans can still be amended on an annual basis. The discussions about amending the plan should be carried out also in the context of the Monitoring Committee (the group charged with overseeing the implementation of the plan and considering any amendments).