An integrated program to prevent, mitigate and compensate wolf (Canis lupus) damage in Piedmont region (northern Italy)
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Centro Gestione Conservazione Grandi Carnivori, Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime, 12010 Valdieri (CN)
Progetto Lupo, Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime, 12010 Valdieri (CN)
Publication date: 2011-07-29
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2012;23(1):54-61
Wolves’ natural recolonization in the Western Alps in the early 1990s resulted in increased in depredation events. The Piedmont Regional Administration has been running a program aimed at monitoring the wolf expansion process and mitigating the human-wolf conflict since 1999. Three key actions, i) compensation of canids (wolf and dog) damage; ii) a subsidy system to promote good livestock husbandry practices; iii) promotion of preventive measures, were used to prevent and compensate damage caused by wolves. Direct damage was verified by veterinarians and refunded according to an annually updated price list. In addition indirect losses were compensated on a lump-sum basis proportional to the herd size for each attack. Since 2007 a subsidy system has rewarded shepherds who, pasturing within the home range of wolf packs and in neighbouring areas, have adopted good management practices and preventive measures. Ad hoc damage prevention plans have mainly addressed chronic situations. Changes in animal husbandry (removal of dead livestock from pastures, confining sick animals, synchronizing births and using shed lambing), promotion of use of electric fences and introduction of livestock guarding dogs (LGDs) have been the most common interventions. A new model of electrified net has been developed and LGDs have been selected and diffused; LGDs behavioural research is in progress. The Regional wolf Program integrates different measures to manage the human-wolf conflict: not only to compensate depredation damages, but also to stimulate the adoption of husbandry practices compatible with the presence of wolves. Actually, in order to promote wolf tolerance by livestock owners, the Program aimed to distribute wolf conservation costs more equitably and involve farmers in decisional processes.
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