How would you like to spend this summer volunteering with shepherds in the Alps? LIFEstockProtect is looking for volunteers to help shepherds and shepherdesses with livestock protection in Austria, Bavaria and South Tyrol! Read on to find out more about this unique experience.
Why livestock protection is important
The wolf is slowly returning to the Alps. Although this is good news for European Wilderness, it challenges livestock owners. Many do not use protective measures which would defend their herds against wolves. This has led to conflict in rural areas, with many in favour of killing the predators to save their animals. This does not help.
The answer is livestock protection, which prevents depredation and reduces conflict. The LIFEstockProtect project aims to improve wolf conservation by helping livestock owners introduce protective measures. This includes fence-building courses, livestock guarding dogs and a new volunteer network, based on the PASTURS model.
This is your chance to be part of the solution to such a contentious issue.
Your volunteering experience
Volunteers will live and work on a mountain pasture with a shepherd or shepherdess. Activities include:
- Setting up, inspecting and taking down protective fences
- Helping with farm management in the valleys
- Taking care of livestock
- Driving livestock up and down the pastures
- Working with dogs
- Informing tourists on protective measures.
As well as food and lodging, the hosting shepherd or shepherdess will share their knowledge of herding in the Alps with the volunteers. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience the traditional Alpine shepherding lifestyle first-hand!
Basic knowledge of German and/or Italian is required.
…learning from nature and animals, discovering the life of the shepherd and being able to listen to and live his passion, dedication and pride in a job that is a choice of life…detaching oneself from everything to live only at the rhythm of nature. An extraordinary gift! We have a lot to learn…
I have tried to looked at the mountain with the eyes of the shepherd, eyes profoundly different from those who go to the mountains to hike; tried to walk it with the feet of the shepherd, fast and sure feet even where it seems impossible; tried to see that dizzying landscape as the normal background for my daily activities. I have tried many new things in the mountain pasture. My ideas have changed, they have been voiced, my perception of reality has been enriched. I know that from now on, when I see shepherds with their flock, I will think of Andrea and Veronica, of their effort and their passion. A part of me remains up there with them, but I will always carry a little piece of Alpe Manina with me.