The 26th International Conference on Bear Research & Management will be held between September 16th and 21st 2018 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

This already traditional conference will once again bring together world-leading experts to discuss and give insight into latest developments of bear research and management, tackling all important challenges and opportunities of coexisting with bears. In 2018, it will be held in Slovenia.

Slovenia is a small Central-European country characterised by an exceptional diversity of landscapes, pristine nature and friendly people. A short drive of just over two hours brings you from the azure waters of Mediterranean to the rugged, snowy peaks of the Alps. Towards northeast they give way to the Pannonian lowlands, and gently descend towards southeast into Dinaric Mountains with their majestic forests and abundance of wildlife. Along the way one wanders over the mysterious Karst and its subterranean world. Common to all of this is the colour green, the national colour of Slovenia.

Slovenia is also home to approximately 500 brown bears that occur there in one of the world highest population densities. Slovenian brown bear population is the western-most part of the Dinara-Pindos brown bear population, and was used as a source for all reintroductions of this species to Western Europe (Italy, Austria and France). Bears are recognized in Slovenia as important natural heritage. While in the past their value has mainly been as a hunting trophies and for their meat, today the bears are seen as an important part nature and in recent years also as an important ecotourism attraction. While there are tangible benefits that coexisting with bears brings to people, human-bear conflicts remain an ongoing challenge, and Slovenia is continuously taking steps to face this challenge and improve coexistence. An important issue for bear conservation in the politically fragmented landscape of Europe is transboundary, population level coordination of management planning and implementation of actions. A consortium of Slovenian expert organizations in cooperation with partners from Croatia, Italy and Austria, took a lead in tackling this challenge through implementation of an international project “Population level management and conservation of brown bears in northern Dinaric Mountains and the Alps« (short name LIFE DINALP BEAR). The project is financed through the European Union’s LIFE programme  and is the host of the IBA conference.

Venue of the conference will be The Grand Hotel Union. Set in a privileged central location close to the Old Town, it is the largest convention hotel in Ljubljana. Built in 1905 in the Art Nouveau style, it combines elegance and a long-term tradition in hosting successful events and prominent guests.

Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is regarded as a logistically stress-free destination – its compact size allows walking between most venues and hotels; the public transport network, or even biking using own or public bikes, are an option to move around from less central hotels.

Few more points underlining the qualities of the destination:

  • Safety counts: two Reader’s Digest social experiments placed Ljubljana among the most honest cities in the world (the lost wallet or mobile phone test). Slovenia also ranks in the top 30 safest countries on the world crime and safety index published by Numbeo.
  • Ljubljana has been named European Green Capital 2016 as a result of its long-term sustainable development vision and the visible results achieved over the last decade.
  • In spring 2015, Ljubljana has received the Tourism for Tomorrow  award for the most sustainable destination at the Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
  • Forbes ranked Ljubljana fifth among the most desirable cities to live in Europe – we simply like to share our quality of life with visitors from abroad.
  • Lonely Planet, the world‘s leading travel guide book publisher, has listed Ljubljana at No. 2 on its Best in Europe 2014 list, which includes ten European destinations considered by LP editors as the most worth visiting this year.
  • Ljubljana is a city to the human scale, has a personal touch and is imbued in green. It is distinguished by an attractive historic quarter with a cosy, lounge-style feel and offers very good value for money.
  • Locals have good foreign language skills in all everyday situations: being understood is easy.
  • With 60,000 university students on a population of 280,000, Ljubljana has a young, creative vibe.
  • The quality and diversity of the gastronomic offer in all price ranges is also an asset of the destination.


Photos of Ljubljana: A. Frelih, D. Wedam, M. Kastelic (Ljubljana Tourism)

Photo of bears: M. Masterl

Photo of venue: Union hoteli d.d.