The Brown Bear Intervention Team was established by the issuance of the Methodological Instruction of the Director General of the Nature Conservation and Landscaping Section of the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic on the establishment, organisation and work of the Brown Bear Intervention Team and its regional branches (hereinafter referred to as the “Methodological Instruction”) under no. 4970/2014-2.3 of 27 August 2014. The team was established due to the need to inform the public and for the purpose of prevention, education, minimisation of risks and avoiding possible conflicts and damage caused by brown bears, as well as the need to operatively address the issue of elimination of damage caused by brown bears and the need to operatively address dangerous human – bear encounters. Pursuant to Section 65a (5) of Act No. 543/2002 Coll. on Nature and Landscape Protection, as subsequently amended, the intervention team is authorised to ensure the hazing, catching or killing of protected animals whose behaviour outside their natural habitat poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of the inhabitants of municipalities.

Since 1 December 2022, the Brown Bear Intervention Team has existed as a separate unit of the Directorate of the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic. The team currently has

12 members working in three subteams, each with 4 employees (based on the scope of operation division within the Slovak Republic). The subteams are:

Intervention Team North

Intervention Team South

Intervention Team West

The division of the scope of operation of the Intervention Team:

Intervention Team North – operating in the districts of Liptovský Mikuláš, Poprad, Kežmarok, Stará Ľubovňa, Spišská Nová Ves, Levoča, Sabinov, Bardejov, Gelnica, Prešov, Svidník, Stropkov, Vranov nad Topľou, Košice a okolie, Košice, Trebišov, Medzilaborce, Michalovce, Humenné, Snina and Sobrance.

Intervention Team South – operating in the districts of Rožňava, Revúca, Rimavská Sobota, Poltár, Lučenec, Veľký Krtíš, Detva, Brezno, Banská Bystrica, Zvolen, Krupina, Banská Štiavnica, Žarnovica, Žiar nad Hronom, Topoľčany, Zlaté Moravce, Levice, Nitra, Nové Zámky, Komárno, Šaľa, Dunajská Streda, Galanta, Hlohovec, Trnava, Piešťany, Skalica, Senica, Malacky, Pezinok, Senec and Bratislava.

Intervention Team West – operating in the districts of Bytča, Čadca, Dolný Kubín, Kysucké Nové Mesto, Martin, Turčianske Teplice, Námestovo, Ružomberok, Tvrdošín, Žilina, Nové Mesto nad Váhom, Trenčín, Myjava, Ilava, Púchov, Považská Bystrica, Prievidza, Bánovce nad Bebravou and Partizánske.

Activities of the Intervention Team include the following:

· Informing the lay as well as expert public about appropriate behaviour in areas with brown bears;

· Prevention and minimising the conflict risk in the context of human-bear co-existence;

· Situation monitoring immediately after the sighting of the presence of brown bears in the vicinity of or directly in the built-up areas of human settlements;

· Coordination of the operational team with other emergency units present;

· Assessment of the situation on the spot, determining the next course of action and the appropriate methodology in the given context;

· Awareness raising activities aimed at explaining the causes of the presence of brown bears in the vicinity of populated areas or directly in them;

· Proposing preventive measures to eliminate the causes of the presence of brown bears in the vicinity of populated areas or directly in them;

· Implementation of preventive measures;

· Active hazing of brown bears and monitoring their behaviour following the application of various hazing methods;

· Operational assessment of the situation, degree of synanthropisation and of the risk levels in brown bears;

· Operational assessment of the possibility of eliminating the bear causing problems (immobilisation, capture, killing);

· Immobilisation, capture or killing of such a brown bear.