Following an international seminar held in March 2016, the operational unit of ALPARC has been coordinating the drafting of a common strategy and awareness-raising tools to reduce impact on wildlife in the Alps.
The year 2016 has been marked by the launch of a working group within the ALPARC network covering the handling of mountain sports and outdoor activities in winter. On 3 and 4 March, an international seminar in the Massif des Bauges Natural Park brought together over 45 participants from different sectors and from throughout the Alps. They stressed the fundamental need to share methods and experiences and develop a common approach at an Alps-wide level.
A common communication strategy for large protected areas and beyond
A first step in this direction is the We respect Alpine Wildlife (WeWild) project coordinated by the operational unit of ALPARC. Over the next two years (2017-2018), this project aims to strengthen the links between the various initiatives at an Alpine level. Based on a collaborative approach with two workshops in 2017 and with a final conference in 2018, the project aims to develop a common communication strategy. It will provide the first tools for raising awareness, which will then be made available to a multitude of stakeholders in the Alps. Among these will be a website, which will also serve as a resource centre, and a “teaser” video clip drawing attention to the theme. WeWild will recruit members of the ALPARC working group – including several Alpine protected areas – as well as new players such as businesses in the “outdoor” sector.
Today, mountain sports and outdoor activities in winter are changing dramatically. Experts note an expansion of these activities in terms of time (throughout winter, all day) and space. Studies show that this shift has significant and detrimental effects on Alpine fauna, which is particularly vulnerable during the winter months. This problem requires a greater awareness among practitioners of these activities and among visitors to sensitive sites in order to enable a coexistence between man and wildlife.
The WeWild project has been selected as part of Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment's (BMUB) call for projects in 2016 with regard to special “environmental protection” postage stamps. Every two years, the Ministry supports projects proposed by environmental associations through the sale of a special postage stamp. As part of the German Presidency of the Alpine Convention 2015-2016, the 2016 edition of the stamp is called “The Alps – Diversity in Europe”.