The largest and most ambitious livestock protection project in the German-speaking region of the Alps has been approved. This means that over the course of the next five years, the European Union will co-finance an investment of approximately €5M in livestock protection training, measures and improvements. As a result, the project aims to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, specifically concerning wolves and livestock depredations, and contribute to a long-term sustainable coexistence with wildlife.
The project LIFEstockProtect was submitted earlier this year for a full evaluation to the LIFE programme. This programme is managed on behalf of the European Commission by EASME, the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
Please also read: Support livestock protection in the Alps!
Urgent need for international collaboration
The project consortium, lead by BIO AUSTRIA Niederösterreich & Wien, submitted the 450 page Full Proposal for LIFEstockProtect in February 2020. After the project successfully passed the Revision Phase in June, the contracting authority EASME countersigned the paperwork earlier this month. This means that LIFEstockProtect will starts planned September 1st, 2020. More official details and announcements will follow soon.
LIFEstockProtect will be the very first project, where agricultural organisations with livestock farmers are actively working together with livestock protection experts, researchers, environmental organisations, the tourism sector and other stakeholders on livestock protection. With many different activities, the project will focus on Austria, Bavaria (Germany) and South Tyrol (Italy). This Alpine region is witnessing the return of the wolf in many rural regions, and with it an increase in livestock depredation. As a result, there is a high demand amongst individual farmers, both organic and conventional ones, for knowledge exchange and assistance with practical implementation of effective livestock protection measures.
This project helps all livestock owners to prepare for the return of the wolf to our region. Training and education is essential to help our colleagues with implementing livestock protection measures.
LIFEstockProtect in numbers
Over the course of five years, the international project foresees more than 150 activities with over 4 000 participants, including workshops, seminars and training. Implemented through local farmers’ associations, the project will support livestock farmers by:
- Establishing at least 20 Livestock Protection Competence Centres
- Training at least 1 000 livestock farmers on livestock protection
- Training at least 100 professional livestock protection consultants
- Deploying at least 20 livestock protection material sets with emergency equipment
- Training 20 special scat detection dogs that will be able to assist in rapid assessments of wolf presence, in case of depredations as well as preemptive wolf surveillance
- Organise and train at least 250 volunteers to support livestock farmers and shepherds
- Train at least 100 livestock protection ambassadors
- Hold youth education workshops with at least 140 school classes
- Organise public conferences and workshops with at least 500 participants
- Visit at least 20 agricultural fairs and events to promote livestock protection measures
- Establish at least 9 Thematic Working Groups with key stakeholders to address most urgent challenges regarding the implementation of livestock protection
- Develop and display a public exhibition with at least 30 000 visitors
- And have a strong online and media presence in the project region.
We are excited to start the implementation of LIFEstockProtect with our fellow project partners. Effective livestock protection has been successfully used to reduce human-wildlife conflict in many corners of Europe, and with this project we can make a real contribution to achieve this in the German-speaking Alpine region as well.