Communication news

Double fake news against the wolf

20 October 2022
Aree Protette Alpi Cozie

Over the past few days, a few seconds of video footage showing an alleged wolf catching and dragging a roe deer into the woods by the side of a paved road has been circulating on social media and in the press. The footage is thrilling and in the background recorded the horrified comments of motorists and the honking of horns used to try to distract the predator from its prey.

Depending on the moment, the video is presented as having been made in Piacenza, Val Pellice, Trentino or elsewhere. Judging by the road signs, it is probably not even Italian. It is therefore one of the many fake news stories that plague the world of wolves. In this case, it is double fake news, because on closer inspection, the carnivore is not a real wild wolf, but rather a domestic dog breed called Czechoslovakian wolfdog, as the article “Il lupo “famelico”? No, ad attaccare il capriolo è un cane lupo cecoslovacco lasciato libero (VIDEO)” shows.

The Czechoslovakian wolfdog is a rather recent breed, built in the 1960s by crossing Carpathian shepherds with German shepherds in an attempt to obtain a stronger and more aggressive breed to patrol the then Iron Curtain with soldiers. It was later discovered that it was a dog with an indocile and uncontrollable temperament and its military function gradually ceased. However, its attractiveness as a domestic animal but very ‘wolfish’, is a factor of great attraction for the human imagination that decreed its fortune and mercantile fashion.

Unfortunately, it is a dog that is often left unsupervised, and left roaming free around houses and hamlets. This often causes it to be mistaken for a real wolf, thus increasing the perception of danger and the spread of the wild species. Because of these characteristics, owners are advised to equip these dogs with a wide collar or even a coloured bandana to avoid confusion.

It should be remembered that, under Italian law, it is always forbidden to let dogs of any breed roam free and unsupervised. It has occurred that park rangers have been forced to impose penalties for non-compliance with the law, for dogs, similar to the one released by the video, left unattended.

Moreover, stray or feral dogs are today the greatest danger to the survival of the Italian wolf population, as they can mate, generating fertile hybrid offspring that can spread the corrupted genetic heritage over large distances.

For these reasons, it is important that anyone who loses their dog or spots a loose one immediately notifies the authorities: mayor, ASL, carabinieri foresters, park rangers.

Read the full article on Kodàmi.