As we know, the return of the wolf in the Alps comes with challenges. Challenges for livestock farmers, who are worried that their livelihood is threatened by the presence of the predatory wolf. Different examples proof that implementation of proper livestock protection measures lower the risk of livestock depredation. Mutual coexistence is the key for wolf conservation measures in Europe in accordance with the FFH directive. For the first time ever, a coalition of the biggest agricultural farming association supported by the academic sector and nature conservation organisations, as well as livestock protection experts in the German speaking Alps have now submitted a LIFE project.
Please also read: Why we need proper herd management
BIO AUSTRIA Niederösterreich & Wien, the largest association for organic farming in Austria, together with the farmer associations Bioland Südtirol and Bioland Bayern from Italy and Germany, represent over 16.000 bio-organic farmers have to deal with conflicting needs of the producing farming community and consuming urban society on a regular basis and especially concerning the wolf. Acting on the demands of their members, these organisations want to achieve a mutual coexistence between livestock farmers and wildlife.
Strong and diverse partnership
That is why BIO AUSTRIA, together with Bioland Südtirol and Bioland Bayern and actively supported by the European Wilderness Society, has submitted a innovative and unique LIFE project idea. The project will proactively explore and demonstrate that implementation of proper livestock protection measures is in the alpine regions of Europe possible.
The project has a strong consortium of partners and supporters, including environmental organisations such as the ‘Nature protection association Austria’ and ‘Environmental association Austria’. Research expertise is provided by ‘EURAC Research’ and the ‘Free University of Bozen’. The ‘Tourism association Tiroler Oberland’ and ‘EUROPARC’ focuses on tourism and livestock protection. Meanwhile, public information is provided by ‘Animalpark Buchenberg’ and ‘Natural Museum of South Tyrol’. This work is supported by livestock protection training from ‘ELIANTE’, ‘The Sheep bureau’, Bioland Bavaria, Bioland Tyrol and by the project leaders BIO AUSTRIA and the European Wilderness Society.
Project idea up for evaluation
The partnership submitted this project idea for evaluation to the LIFE programme last week. The project main components will focus on testing and demonstrating effective livestock protection measures. Most importantly, it is the farmers’ associations that train their members how to use livestock protection measures properly. Education activities will target youth, professionals and the general public to show why livestock protection is necessary and possible. Furthermore, the project will initiate an ambassador programme to promote livestock protection and coexistence with large carnivores in the Alps.
Interested to contribute?
The evaluation will take place later this year, after which the partners will develop a full proposal. There is still a possibility for new partners to join. So, if your organisation would like to join this project in the German speaking Alps of Austria, German and Italy, please fill out the contact form below.