Livestock protection methods applicable for Germany – a Country newly recolonized by wolves
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LUPUPS Wildlife Consultants, Dorfstr. 16, D-02979
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna Savoyenstrasse 1, A-1160 Vienna
VAUNA e.V., Deutinger Str. 15, D-82487 Oberammergau
Publication date: 2011-07-29
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2012;23(1):62-72
Against the background of the return of wolves into Germany the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) commissioned a synopsis and evaluation of large carnivore (LC) damage prevention methods that may work in Germany. The goal was to come up with recommendations for livestock protection measures, prevention- and compensation payment schemes based on experiences in Germany and other European countries. We summarized the German experience, reviewed the existing literature with a special focus on Europe, and send questionnaires to experts in European countries that face similar challenges like Germany. The results confirmed that there is no single livestock protection method providing 100% safety. However, a couple of methods can reduce damages considerably and have already proved to be successful also under German conditions. Electric fences, when used correctly, are an effective measure for reducing predation on sheep or goats. In most cases electric sheep nets are sufficient as wolves rarely jump over fences. Most effective appears to be a combination of electric fences and livestock guarding dogs (LGD). However, it will be imperative to provide shepherds not only with dogs but also with expert advice on the raising and training of these dogs. When compensation is not coupled with prevention the incentive to use prevention measures accurately may beweak and thuswe highly recommend interlinking compensation payment with damage prevention. However, given the current low level of wolf predation on large stock, we presently recommend for Germany to request and consequently financially support only prevention measures for small livestock on a preemptive basis in the area of permanent wolf presence.
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