Livestock protection works: a case study from Brandenburg

Brandenburg, along with Saxony, are the states with the largest wolf density in Germany. At the moment, there are 27 wolf territories in Saxony, 22 of which are inhabited by wolf packs. As a result, livestock depredation by wolves was a significant problem due to wolf attacks on sheep.

A large amount of money was invested into livestock protection in the recent years – just in 2019, almost a million euros, and the year before around 800.000 €. This investment is clearly paying off, as the number of depredated animals has significantly decreased. While in 2018, around 400 domestic animals were killed by wolves, this number dropped to 291 in 2019. The livestock breeders are proud of this decrease. In the past two years, no wolf successfully came over the protection measures, which would lead to its removal.

The most common livestock protection measures include electric fences, livestock guarding dogs, shepherds and fladry. Livestock protection is especially efficient when more measures are used at the same time, such as livestock guarding dogs and electric fences.

Protective measures are effective ways of reducing livestock depredation by large carnivores and achieving coexistence. Following its success, the European Wilderness Society is currently preparing a LIFE project. The project will focus on promoting livestock protection in the predominantly German-speaking Alps. By providing farmers with resources and support to implement livestock protection, the aim is to achieve better human-wolf coexistence in the area.

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