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Wolf Prevention Emergency Teams: Damage Inspections, Preventive Methods, Moderation, Wolf Control, Conflict Mitigation in Hot Spot Areas 

Damages to livestock are one of the most important causes of human-carnivore conflict, which makes prevention of the damages crucial in solving problems. Nowadays, on one side wolves are expanding and on
the other the government is promoting livestock farming in the Alps. The conflicts because of wolf-caused damage to livestock are becoming more important as a source of animosity toward carnivores.

The negative attitude of local people towards wolves’ presence is often due to the lack of measures to prevent attacks to livestock and of assistance from local authorities. Experience has shown that the constant presence of project staff assisting livestock owners in using prevention systems is instrumental in making local people not feel abandoned and not considered less than a protected species such as the wolf.

The creation of first-aid Wolf Prevention Intervention Units–WPIUs is the tool we will use to assist breeders effectively in case of livestock depredations, to evaluate the prevention
strategy adopted and to immediately propose better ad hoc solutions to avoid future depredation events. This represents an opportunity for mitigating conflicts and building trust between authorities and
local people. The WPIUs will be activated in Italy, France, Austria and Slovenia.

Steps to implement the action:

  • Single WPIU activity: each WPIU will intervene in hot spot conflict areas to rapidly implement preventive tools, using ad-hoc preventive strategies based on successful experiences. WPIUs will also provide administrative assistance and active listening with a role of mediators. In case of need, the WPIUs will operate together with the anti-poisoning dog teams.
  • Coordination and constant evaluation for optimization of WPIU at Country/regional level.
  • Improving the correct use of Livestock Guarding Dogs (LGDs) and fences: LGD proved in some occasions to be dangerous to people. It is important to intervene with concrete on the field solutions, proper training when needed and communication to tourists and hikers about proper behaviour in presence of LGDs.
  • Practical field-testing of the reliability of sensor based systems on flocks and feedback for improvement, in the context of operating WPIU in Austria by AREC: the test will give basis data for finding patterns of panic in a flock. Further results will be the recommendations and guidelines with the basic requirements necessary for the implementation of such a system elsewhere in the Alps.
  • Development of a group of Help shepherd volunteers to be used during the pasture period to give farmers assistance in their working routine in Italy.
  • Development of “Final long term guidelines for the implementation of the WPIU at each national level and cost effect evaluation”.i.
  • Awareness campaign implementation for preventive actions and dissemination of WPIU activity.
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