For the newly approved project LIFEstockProtect, our team is in the field this week with a German television crew in Tirol and central Italy or a new Hannes Jaenicke documentary. The television crew, accompanied by two renowned actors, will make a documentary about the challenges regarding the return of wolves and the challenges of livestock protection. The documentary will air in spring 2021 on the German channel ZDF.
Please also read: LIFEstockProtect project on livestock protection approved!
Livestock protection in the alpine mountains
The first stop was Tösens in Tirol, a region which recently confirmed presence of eight different wolves. Tirol is characterised by steep rugged alpine mountains, where there is still intensive livestock farming. Many farmers have one or more herds of animals, such as sheep, goats and cows. They spend most of their time up in the mountain pastures during the summer season. With the presence of wolves, it is important that farmers have effective protection measures to avoid depredation of wolves. Together with the television crew we filmed how local farmers use different ways to protect their livestock. This fosters a coexistence with the natural wildlife.
Our team is currently supporting the local farmers with herding the sheep for the last two weeks of this season. They are hiking up daily to altitudes of 2200 to 2500m above sea level to the pastures. Here they assist to ensure the well-being of the animals. In about two weeks, they will gather the 200+ animals and bring them down to the valleys. In the meantime, the other part of our team continued with the German television crew to Italy.
Howling wolves in Italy
In central Italy, you find one of the most dense populations of the Apennine wolf in Majella National Park. The park, with a surface of 750 km2 is home to approximately 100 wolves in 10 different packs. The wolves have always been in the area, and locals are used to live alongside them. Together with the tv crew, we looked at how Majella, which is also one of the oldest members of the European Wilderness Network, is performing research on the wolf.
The wolves in Majella are excellent at hunting wildlife, mostly wild boar and deer. Only on rare occasions wolves predate a sheep or goat, usually when there is no sufficient protection. The researchers of the park management explained to us how they do research to study the wildlife interaction with wolves, and many more interesting topics.
At the end of the day, as the bright milky way filled the night sky, we went out in the field once again to howl with the wolves. Accompanied with local experts, we heard the wolves howl in the distance, as the red deer stags perform their belling serenades this time of the year.
The project LIFEstockProtect is financed by the LIFE programme, please visit the website below for more information.