WWF volunteers help wolves by helping shepherds ! | WWF

WWF volunteers help wolves by helping shepherds !

Posted on 19 May 2009
Guard dogs are being trained to protect livestock from fox, raven and wolves. There is also some evidence that they have scared bears away too. Ticino, Switzerland.
© Mark Schulman / WWF
The main aim is to improve acceptance of predators such as wolves, bears and lynx in the alpine range. This will be done by helping alpine farmers reduce predation damage through herd protection measures. An extra goal is to increase the understanding of these species in both city and mountain-dwellers.

Successful herd protection is essential

The re-colonization of Switzerland by lynx, bears and wolves can cause problems for the local population. These two species present a potential threat to sheep and goats during the summer months when herds are left to roam, often unattended, in the high mountain pastures. The implementation of specific herd protection measures can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of attacks by the large carnivores. Furthermore the maintenance of traditional shepherding can benefit the ecological quality of high mountain pastures and forests. Protection measures however, are often frowned upon by herd owners because they require additional work and expenditure.

Herd protection measures need help!

WWF volunteers will attend an introduction course. They will then be allocated to a farm for a period of time. During this period they will implement protection measures in accordance with a scheme developed in France called “PastoraLoup”. The volunteer’s role is to actively participate in the daily work routine: they will spend the night outdoors with the guarding dogs to stand watch over the herd; they will inform tourists on the role of guarding dogs and will explain which behaviours to adopt when encountering one. Volunteers will also help raise protective fencing in specific areas. An unforgettable experience. Nights spent out in the open, long walks following the herd in beautiful mountain ranges: volunteers will experience both the joys and hardships of a shepherd’s life. Participating in the ‘Help the shepherd’ programme is a concrete action you can take. You will help the environment, by promoting sustainable farming, and you will facilitate the wolves’ return to the Alps. It is also an extraordinary adventure!

Translated and adapted form an article published by WWF Switzerland. http://www.wwf.ch/de/tun/aktivwerden/freiwillig/hirtenhilfen/index.cfm
Guard dogs are being trained to protect livestock from fox, raven and wolves. There is also some evidence that they have scared bears away too. Ticino, Switzerland.
© Mark Schulman / WWF Enlarge

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