Francesco Del Greco, one of our master students supervised by Prof. Marco Ciolli and Researcher Clara Tattoni, is spending 3 months in the Bow Valley (Canada) for his master degree thesis project.
In the Trentino Alto Adige region (Northern Italy) the human-wildlife conflict is very common; here farmers, ranchers and tourists are dealing with a great populations of brown bear, wolf and ungulates. Especially the Trentino Brown Bear population counts more than 60 specimens, coming from a great and successful reintroduction program started in the 2000.
Francesco is working with the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley on their WildSmart program, with Parks Canada and with Province of Trento to find a solution, learning how wildlife crossing structures and educational programs can make a difference to human and wildlife coexistence.
WildSmart, a program of the Biosphere Institute, is a proactive conservation program that encourages efforts by communities to reduce negative human-wildlife interactions. Francesco is participating in WildSmart’s Programs to understand how to educate youth, residents, local businesses and visitors about the species living in the Bow Valley and how to avoid and manage encounters with wildlife. Francesco is also supervised by experts in the field (Mike Gibeau and Anthony Clevenger) with which he is carrying out a GIS analysis on the Trentino landscape to develop a crossing structures planning in such a way to reduce the wildlife-vehicle collisions and the habitat fragmentation.
Then, thanks to Parks Canada, Francesco was able to access to several crossing structures (otherwise restricted areas) in the Banff National Parks, participating in the servicing visit. Francesco is also in touch with the “Province of Trento – forest and wildlife service” to receive data and feedback on his work.
The student, according with his supervisors, decided to approach the Trentino human-wildlife conflict moving to the Bow Valley because this region has become the model for highway crossing structure mitigation around the world and to follow in person the WildSmart, the award winning, community based program.
In the end, Francesco presented his work and preliminary outcomes this week. He had the opportunities to be interviewed in a radio programme and to participate in a public event about the topic.
Coexisting with wildlife: the Bow Valley model