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Every two years, the European Natura 2000 Award showcases some of the best nature conservation actions across the EU.

We are proud that three projects from Birdlife Partners have been selected as finalists!

  • Natuurpunt, BirdLife Flanders, has set up a Wolf Fencing Team to help livestock owners protect their animals
  • SEO/BirdLife Spain together with the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), BirdLife Portugal are combatting wildlife crime by giving trainings on environmental law enforcement
  • DOPPS, BirdLife Slovenia, is restoring the Stržen river

Don’t forget to vote for your favourite project through this link! Voting is open until the 25th of April (23.59 CET) and the winner will be awarded with the European Citizens’ Award on the 18th of May.

Co-existing with the wolf in Belgium

In 2018, wolves returned to Belgium with a territory spanning around 300 km², including vital Natura 2000 sites. The presence of non-professional pet livestock owners posed a risk of wolf attacks and sparked protests. So, Natuurpunt set up the Wolf Fencing Team Belgium (WFTB), aiding over 1,080 livestock owners with expert guidance and practical support. And it worked! None of the 260 reported damage cases in Belgium involved damage to fences that met the standards set by WFTB. The initiative’s success has inspired similar efforts in neighbouring regions, fostering harmony between humans and wolves. Read more and vote for them here!

Restoring the Stržen River in Slovenia

DOPPS is restoring the River Stržen after it was altered for agricultural purposes in the 20th century. Our Partner rerouted a 2.1 km stretch of the river back to its natural meandering flow, bringing back habitats of various species including birds like the elusive Great Bittern, with nests now thriving across an additional 215 hectares.. This project also helped the local economy by creating new ways for people to enjoy nature, like bear observation points. Read more and vote for them here!

Combatting Wildlife Crime in Spain and Portugal

With the Nature Guardians project, SEO/BirdLife and SPEA successfully addressed ineffective environmental law enforcement in Spain and Portugal, and increased conviction rates and fines imposed for illegal activities in Natura 2000 sites. They trained over 1,500 law enforcement agents and created tools to catch and report environmental crimes. This resulted in a reduction of wildlife deaths by 62% in Spain. The project also increased the detection of environmental crimes by over 100% in Spain and over 80 % increase in Portugal. This success has led to more countries learning from their methods, making Europe safer for nature. Read more and vote for them here!

© SEO/BirdLife

Cover picture: Ariel Brunner

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Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.