Illegal killings are a major threat to wildlife conservation worldwide. Combating illegal killings and understanding the motives behind them are among the top challenges for the conservation of controversial species such as large carnivores. In Europe, the Eastern Alps are a focal area for many active brown bear (Ursus arctos) conservation and restoration projects. The wider public generally has a positive attitude toward bears and bear restoration, but some hunters and farmers seem less supportive. The extent this opposition can reach was demonstrated by the well documented illegal killing of a bear in the three-country triangle of Slovenia, Italy, and Austria in June 2009. We provide detailed background information and discuss this case within the context of the lack of a northward expansion of the Dinaric–Pindos bear population and the failed bear re-introduction in central Austria.
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Vol. 22 • No. 1