A crucial part of the project is promoting coexistence on the ground between livestock owners and wolves. In order to achieve this, best practise methods will be used to protect livestock and reduce the number of wolf attacks. By working closely together with livestock owners, the project will strive to be of added value to them, looking for win-win solutions that benefit both people and nature.
Setting-up a veterinary force trained in the use of damage preventive measures
Two local veterinaries will be trained on how to work with farmers about best husbandry practices. As part of their training the veterinaries will have the opportunity to visit farms and different study cases in Italy and Portugal where damage prevention has been implemented in different husbandry systems.
The veterinaries will inform the new owners about proper training and will monitor the progress and socialization of Livestock Guard Dogs.
Implementation of damage preventive measures and best management practises
Through this action, support will be directly provided to these farmers to implement damage preventive measures and adopt best husbandry practices (i.e., use of native breeds, keeping livestock in small pastures, temporary enclosure of the most vulnerable individuals) in order to reduce the risk of wolf attacks. This is expected to create a positive example that could be followed by other farmers within the project area, reducing conflicts between wolves and the husbandry sector.
Within this action, Livestock Guard Dogs (LGDs) and fixed fences will be given to livestock owners to protect small ruminants and especially cattle. A native breed traditionally used in the project area will be selected (Serra de Estrela), although other breeds that are deemed to be more adequate protecting cattle can be also chosen.
Implementation of a replicability plan for mobile teams of surveillance and LGD network
Cooperative livestock raisers that are interested in expanding and managing the LGD network in other areas of Portugal (Peneda/Gerês, Alvão/Padrela and Bragança) will be contacted. These cooperatives will be invited to come to the project area so they can see how the network works. In addition, the veterinary force will provide training to teach them how to integrate LGDs in flocks and herds. Pups from the network will be donated to these cooperatives/associations to allow them to kick-start their own networks.