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European Wolves

Luipaard Offline
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#46

@Sully Really sad news but I'm glad that almost our whole country is disgusted by this. Wolves finally earn the attention they need here.

Also, in May 2019, a new wolf was spotted in Neufchâteau, Wallonia (French speaking part of Belgium):


*This image is copyright of its original author


The interesting thing is that this one is an Italian wolf (Canis lupus italicus) while Naya and August originated from somewhere in Germany or Poland.

This means there are two subspecies roaming in Belgium!

Source WWF Belgium: https://twitter.com/WWF_Belgie/status/1129285670017622022?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1129285670017622022&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hln.be%2Fwetenschap-planeet%2Fdieren%2Fnieuwe-wolf-opgedoken-de-vierde-al-in-belgie~a9c008bb%2F
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Sully Offline
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#47

France has wolves in its sights as it demands Brussels' blessing to shoot more 

France has demanded Brussels allows French farmers to shoot more wolves, as the population of the resurgent species surges across Europe. 
Denmark, Estonia, Italy and Latvia also demanded extra flexibility in Brussels’ latest guidance on the protection of species in the EU’s Habitats Directive, according to meeting documents obtained by The Telegraph. 
European Commission officials were said to be nonplussed by the Paris-led demand made at a meeting of agricultural ministers on Monday. 
Diplomatic sources said the commission pointed to lucrative subsidies in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which can help farmers buy fencing to keep wolves out. 

The intervention was made the week after the EU’s top court upheld the strict protection that EU law offers to endangered species, such as wolves, in a ruling that will annul wolf hunting permits granted in Finland. 
European Parliament research puts the number of wild wolves in the EU at 17,000, which is credited in part to the tough protection rules imposed by Brussels. 
The countries used the term “wolf management” as a euphemism for the culling of the predator, whose numbers have grown across the continent. 
“They basically want to be allowed to shoot more wolves,” one EU diplomat said.
In France, for example, farmers have claimed wolves are putting the production of Roquefort cheese at risk.  Roquefort cheese can only be so named if the sheep that provide the milk are allowed to graze freely, exposing them to the risk of attack. 

The animals were posing an increasing threat to farming communities and livelihoods, the countries’ claimed. The wolf population was “a huge challenge to member states”.  

Farmers already made a huge contribution to protecting biodiversity, the anti-wolf contingent said, pointing to farming’s economic and “cultural” impact.
The countries expressed “deep concern” about new commission guidance on “protection of species of community interest” such as wolves. 
“These changes threaten the possibilities for Member States to adequately manage wolf populations,” the bloc of agricultural minister said. 
“Additional flexibility is clearly needed for Member States so that they adapt their practices to local realities and fully address social, cultural and economic issues.”
They called for improved, scientific monitoring of wolf populations to allow for the euphemistically termed “proactive management of the matter.”
Finally they demanded Brussels draft a new proposal which would allow “ a comprehensive and flexible approach on this crucial issue.'' 
Wolves have spread to every country in continental Europe, with Belgium, the last country to see the return of the wolf, welcoming “Naya” a she-wolf in January 2018
In September conservationists accused Belgian hunters of killing Naya, who was pregnant and monitored by environmentalists, after she went missing in May. Her mate is now exhibiting signs of being a lone wolf once more. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10...ing-shoot/
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Finland Shadow Offline
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#48
( This post was last modified: 10-17-2019, 06:21 AM by Shadow )

(10-16-2019, 11:48 PM)Sully Wrote: France has wolves in its sights as it demands Brussels' blessing to shoot more 

France has demanded Brussels allows French farmers to shoot more wolves, as the population of the resurgent species surges across Europe. 
Denmark, Estonia, Italy and Latvia also demanded extra flexibility in Brussels’ latest guidance on the protection of species in the EU’s Habitats Directive, according to meeting documents obtained by The Telegraph. 
European Commission officials were said to be nonplussed by the Paris-led demand made at a meeting of agricultural ministers on Monday. 
Diplomatic sources said the commission pointed to lucrative subsidies in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which can help farmers buy fencing to keep wolves out. 

The intervention was made the week after the EU’s top court upheld the strict protection that EU law offers to endangered species, such as wolves, in a ruling that will annul wolf hunting permits granted in Finland. 
European Parliament research puts the number of wild wolves in the EU at 17,000, which is credited in part to the tough protection rules imposed by Brussels. 
The countries used the term “wolf management” as a euphemism for the culling of the predator, whose numbers have grown across the continent. 
“They basically want to be allowed to shoot more wolves,” one EU diplomat said.
In France, for example, farmers have claimed wolves are putting the production of Roquefort cheese at risk.  Roquefort cheese can only be so named if the sheep that provide the milk are allowed to graze freely, exposing them to the risk of attack. 

The animals were posing an increasing threat to farming communities and livelihoods, the countries’ claimed. The wolf population was “a huge challenge to member states”.  

Farmers already made a huge contribution to protecting biodiversity, the anti-wolf contingent said, pointing to farming’s economic and “cultural” impact.
The countries expressed “deep concern” about new commission guidance on “protection of species of community interest” such as wolves. 
“These changes threaten the possibilities for Member States to adequately manage wolf populations,” the bloc of agricultural minister said. 
“Additional flexibility is clearly needed for Member States so that they adapt their practices to local realities and fully address social, cultural and economic issues.”
They called for improved, scientific monitoring of wolf populations to allow for the euphemistically termed “proactive management of the matter.”
Finally they demanded Brussels draft a new proposal which would allow “ a comprehensive and flexible approach on this crucial issue.'' 
Wolves have spread to every country in continental Europe, with Belgium, the last country to see the return of the wolf, welcoming “Naya” a she-wolf in January 2018
In September conservationists accused Belgian hunters of killing Naya, who was pregnant and monitored by environmentalists, after she went missing in May. Her mate is now exhibiting signs of being a lone wolf once more. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10...ing-shoot/

That article gives a bit wrong picture about situation in Finland. Wolves are hunted here mainly as before also after that decision. That ruling was about certain reason to hunt wolves and now in future there has to be more reasoning when that kind of permissions are granted. Wolves have been and will be hunted in Finland every year in some level, but total number of wolves will grow from current. That article might make it look like that no hunting at all here and in reality that ruling has minimal effect to situation. It´s more about fine adjustment than anything else what comes to reasoning behind granted permissions to hunt.
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Sully Offline
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#49

Wolf (Canis lupus) feeding habits during the first eight years of its occurrence in Germany

Abstract

Due to the fact that the feeding habits of large carnivores are the main contentious point when they start resettling regions they were absent from for several decades, the diet composition of the wolves in Germany was analysed from the beginning of this process. Wolves in Germany primarily feed on wild ungulates, which make up more than 96% of their diet. The dominating prey species is the roe deer (55.3%), followed by red deer (20.8%) and wild boar (17.7%). The second important food category are the leporids (2.9% of Biomass), whereas livestock makes up only 0.6% of all biomass consumed. Wolves clearly prefer hunting on juvenile to adult red deer; roe deer are not selected after their age. We found seasonal differences in the diet composition with a higher amount of wild boar in spring and winter, when a high amount of juveniles and weakened animals, respectively, are available. In the first years of the study the percentage of red deer was much higher, and the percentage of roe deer therefore was lower than the following years. The amount of wild boar in the wolf diet fluctuated most in the first three years. Diet composition remained constant during the last five years. Wolves needed less than two generations for adapting to the new conditions in the cultivated landscape of eastern Germany.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257668204_Wolf_Canis_lupus_feeding_habits_during_the_first_eight_years_of_its_occurrence_in_Germany

The thing to note here is the 0.6% livestock consumption. A success story if there ever was one when it comes to mitigation of predation on livestock. 
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Sully Offline
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#50

Scientists confirm that wolves help to have healthier cattle

Wolves and cattle are presented as irreconcilable enemies , but in reality they are not so much . Its presence, far from being a problem, can help control diseases that cause serious economic losses to the rural world such as tuberculosis . And they usually spread wild boars, deer, roe deer, fallow deer and other large wild animals.

Wolves focus on the most vulnerable prey , those that can hunt with less effort such as sick individuals. This allows a natural reduction of the transmission of these diseases, thus reporting a benefit to the economy of the agricultural sector.

This is one of the conclusions drawn from the publication ' Essential aspects of the wolf and its management ' that is part of the communication and dissemination actions of the LIFE 'The wolf in Andalusia: changing attitudes ', whose main objective is to raise awareness about the importance of conserving wolf populations in Andalusia. Its author is Juan Carlos Blanco , a biologist who has been dedicated to the study and conservation of the wolf in Spain for more than 25 years.

Natural control

Scientists consider the role of " health police " played by the wolf in southern Spain, where ungulates of hunting interest have a serious problem of prevalence of diseases transmissible to domestic livestock, especially tuberculosis.

The data of the Program of Epidemiological Surveillance of the Wild Fauna in Andalusia (PVE) collected in the publication indicate that the percentage of positive samples with tuberculosis in farms of Sierra Morena de Córdoba and Jaén is 15.5% among the cervids and 57 , 8% in the case of wild boar, the proportion of animals positive for salmonellosis and aujeszky being 81.8% and 38%, respectively. On the contrary, in a study carried out in Galicia and Asturias, where there are large populations of wolves and much lower densities of wild ungulates, the prevalence of tuberculosis in wild boars was only 2.6%.

Based on this information, it is concluded that the problem of tuberculosis in domestic cattle is very difficult to deal with if the densities of wild ungulates are not reduced , which also devour fresh grass if its population is uncontrolled.

"Hence the relevant role of the Iberian wolf as a crucial element in maintaining the biological balances of the ecosystems in which it inhabits as the most widespread natural ungulate hunter in the northern hemisphere," said those responsible for the LIFE El lobo project in Andalusia .

Rural environment dynamizer

The manual also includes some of the key aspects of the species, which thanks to its great adaptability has been able to prevent extinction . The evolution of the canid in the Iberian Peninsula is traced from the end of the 19th century to the present, being the most lobera areas of Spain Castilla y León, Galicia and Asturias, where 90% of the population is concentrated. In Andalusia it is not clear that there are breeding herds today.

Likewise, the enormous possibilities of the wolf as a revitalizer of the rural environment are addressed in the face of the rise of an observation tourism  that increasingly values the attractiveness of species such as the bear or the wolf in their natural habitat and as representative cultural and symbolic elements of a territory. It is a responsible tourism, based on the appreciation of nature and culture, which must be informative and cause minimal impact , inconvenience and environmental pollution, being a good way to economically value the wolf, as well as educating and raising awareness among the general public It produces benefits for rural communities.

Blanco affirms in this work that although in Sierra Morena, due to its particular characteristics, the tourism of observation of fauna in general and of wolves in particular will not reach the importance that it acquires in other traditionally wolf zones of Spain such as Somiedo (Asturias ) or the Sierra de la Culebra (Zamora), it can become a complementary resource, that generates jobs and that contributes to diversify the economic contributions that are received in the territory by other concepts. It also aims to strengthen the wolf heritage (which has been inventoried by Life Lobo Andalucía) and to include visits to livestock farms to show visitors the way of life of this group that lives daily with the wolf.
The publication can be downloaded in pdf format in this link .

https://blogs.20minutos.es/cronicaverde/2019/02/08/los-cientificos-confirman-que-los-lobos-ayudan-a-tener-el-ganado-mas-sano/
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Sully Offline
Ecology & Rewilding
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#51

Wolf packs on the increase in Germany

The highest concentration of the protected species can be found in the state surrounding Berlin. But not only are there more wolf packs, the animal is also spreading to new areas in Germany.

The number of wolf packs in Germany has increased to 105, according to official numbers for 2019 released on Monday.
That compares to 77 wolf packs from the previous monitoring study conducted in 2017/18 by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and a government wolf advising center.
Read moreCan tourism save wolves in Germany?
"The wolf population in Germany is increasing. The wolf territories continue to concentrate in the previously known areas stretching from eastern Saxony to the North Sea," said nature conservation agency president Beate Jessel.

In addition to the packs, each containing between three and 11 wolves, monitors identified 25 wolf pairs and 13 lone wolves. The previous study found 40 pairs and three lone wolves.
Read moreWolf attacks on livestock rise in Germany
In the early 2000s, about 150 years after being eradicated from Germany, wolves returned to eastern Germany's Lusatia region, which straddles the states of Brandenburg and Saxony.
They have since spread to several states, including Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Lower Saxony. For the first time since wolves were wiped out, monitors were able to identify lone territorial wolves in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein. Further territorial occurrences could be proven in Thuringia and Bavaria.
Meanwhile, the number of dead wolves found jumped from a year earlier from 61 to 99. More than half of the 83 killed from traffic were puppies. The number of wolves killed illegally was 8. 

https://www.dw.com/en/wolf-packs-on-the-...a-51498925
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Sully Offline
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#52


A Spanish researcher has analysed the preferences of wolves from the north east of the Iberian Peninsula to demonstrate that, in reality, their favourite prey are roe deer, deer and wild boar, ahead of domestic ruminants (sheep, goats, cows and horses).

Wolves (Canis lupus) have been pursued by humans for centuries due to their supposed "addiction" to livestock. However, the study by Isabel Barja, sole author and researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid [Autonomous University of Madrid], demonstrates that in the Macizo Central Orensano [mountain range in the Ourense region] (Galicia) wolves prefer wild hoofed animals to livestock in spite of the latter being available in the study area.

The researcher, who identified the food type of wolves through their faeces, emphasises to SINC that "in 87.1% of cases the carcasses of wild hoofed animals appeared, while domestic animals were only found in 11.3%, and, to a lesser extent, the remains of carnivorous animals, such as badgers, dogs, cats and rabbits were found".

The study, which has recently been published in Wildlife Biology, reflects how roe deer are the main prey, consumed during all seasons of the year and particularly during the summer (52%) and spring (26.2%). Analysis of 593 wolf excrement samples, collected between May 1998 and October 2002, revealed that 62.8% of prey was roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), 12.6% deer (Cervus elaphus) and 10% wild boar (Sus scrofa). The consumption of domestic sheep and goats only represented 7.7% and 2.9%, respectively.

The fact that livestock remains are present in excrement samples of wolves is justified by their scavenging activity in the studied area. "Furthermore, while the study was being conducted, no attacks on livestock herds were reported", the biologist states. One of the most important aspects to emerge from the analysis of the diet of wolves is that consumption of wild and domestic hoofed animals does not depend on their availability, that is, the abundance of prey species. The wolf prefers roe deer, deer and wild boar ahead of livestock, "in spite of the fact that both food types can be found in large quantities", Barja adds.

The results of the study confirm that wolves do not feed on the most easily captured prey, such as domestic hoofed animals; rather they prefer to consume wild animals. It would, however, be inaccurate to categorise the wolf as an opportunist species in the study area.

"In areas with a low density and diversity of wild hoofed animals where wolves feed on domestic animals, an increase in the number of wild prey, livestock vigilance and limited access to carcasses could force wolves to specialise in the consumption of wild prey and transmit this behaviour to their offspring. Without doubt, this would help to minimise conflict between humans and wolves, and would support the conservation of canidae", the researcher concludes.
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BorneanTiger Offline
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#53
( This post was last modified: 12-27-2019, 11:32 AM by BorneanTiger )

At a family's garden in Balen, northeast Belgium, a wolf snatched a pet kangaroo and wounded another: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50912766https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article...lgium.html

BBC:

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Luipaard Offline
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#54

New female wolf in Belgium: Noëlla 


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Sully Offline
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#55

Protecting wolves in Finland

Wolves and other large carnivores were near extinction or extinct in several countries in Europe by the early 1900s.

In Finland, wolves continued to be freely hunted until 1973 and only few individuals were roaming in boreal forests. When Finland became a member state of the European Union in 1995, wolves became a protected species in Finland.

Poaching is considered to be as one of the main reasons why wolves have not managed to reach favorable conservation status in Finland in twenty years of their recovery.

Prohibition 

The Habitats Directive of the European Union includes wolves as a protected species.  The Directive protects wolves at different levels in different parts of Finland.

Outside of the designated reindeer husbandry area, wolves are strictly protected, meaning that all hunting, disturbing and harming of these animals is prohibited.

Finland was sued by the Commission of the European Union in the European Court of Justice (CJEU) in 2005 because it had not fulfilled its obligations of wolf conservation. 

The Court decided that “by authorizing wolf hunting on a preventive basis, without it being established that the hunting is such as to prevent serious damage within the meaning of Article 16(1)(b) of Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, Finland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Articles 12(1) and 16(1)(b) of that directive.” 

In 2005, Finland also released the first management plan for wolves. The plan introduced several preventive methods and measures to protect the Finnish wolf population of about 200 individuals, but the implementation of those measures was handled very poorly.

Management 

Before the decision of the CJEU, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry launched a so-called management hunt of wolves in 2006 and the next year, the population collapsed from 220-250 individuals to 200 wolves and continued to deteriorate to 120-135 wolves in 2013.

There was no action taken to prevent poaching, damage to livestock or dogs, the spreading of misinformation or the increasing antagonism towards wolves during 2007-2014.

The conflict worsened in 2013, when 12 hunters at Perho, Ostrobothnia were convicted of illegal hunting of wolves. One of the convicted was a member of a National Wildlife Council in Finland. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry began to update the management plan for wolves in 2014.

The new update of the management plan was supposed to concentrate on the preventive methods to support the recovery of the wolf population in Finland. In workshops, several stakeholders including representatives of hunting, agriculture, and conservation interest groups agreed on electric fencing, compensatory payments, territorial collaborative management and the importance of the role of accurate information, among other things.

But instead of going forward with what was agreed upon in the workshops, the Ministry decided to launch a management hunt of wolves as a two-year experiment.

Work

As a result of the derogation procedures of the Wildlife Agency in Eastern Finland, we established NGO Tapiola in November 2014, to intervene by legal action and to question the decision making regarding the wrongful interpretations of the Habitats Directive.

Soon we realized that our new organization had its hands full of work. We gave a statement to the Ministry concerning the new management plan and the hunting quota of 29 wolves, which had unexpectedly appeared along with the plan.

Simultaneously the Wildlife Agency released the information regarding the application process for permissions. The last day for giving statements concerning the quota was on 22 January 2015, and all the permissions for 24 wolves were granted on 23 January 2015.

With only a small budget and without any assistance from lawyers, we appealed all the permissions. Two Administrative Courts prohibited the implementation of the licenses for five wolves. We argued that hunting violated the Habitats Directive Article 16 (1)(e) derogation preconditions in allowing the hunt to take place during the breeding season.

Also, the Directives requirements- “selective basis”, “limited extent” and “under strictly supervised conditions” weren’t met during the hunt. 17 wolves were killed in the management hunt.

Appeal

The appeal process can take several months, sometimes even years. As a result of the “first round”, all the courts, besides the Administrative court of Hämeenlinna (Northern Tavastia), claimed that legally Tapiola was not an authorized local NGO with a right to appeal. But when also the Court of Hämeenlinna rejected our appeal, none of them were successful. 

Gathering information and scientific data was an essential part of our commitment to prove every single of the claims we made.

Therefore, we collected data of population development, mortality, biology, scientific studies and research, legislation, legal praxis, preventive methods, police orders, etc. At the end of 2015, we changed our organizational structure into an association with six district organizations under one national umbrella organization.

The management hunt of wolves continued as planned in January 2016, with a quota of 46 wolves. Eventually 44 of them were killed.

Our district organizations appealed, and this time all the Administrative courts rejected either our appeals or our right to appeal. The Administrative Court of Eastern Finland concluded that we had no right to appeal, even though, there was a contradictory decision from a year earlier given to another local organization.

We decided to take our case to the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) of Finland. The SAC took our case and confirmed our right to appeal. As per our suggestion, the court also decided to ask for a preliminary ruling from European Union Court of Justice in November 2017.

Last resort

The process actually started when the CJEU asked for a written observation in March 2018. In the end the observation was a 20-page long document, with 30 attachments and 55 references. After the written observations, the Court invited us to an oral hearing which was held in Luxembourg in January 2019.

The Advocate General gave his opinion in May 2019 which gave reason for the Ministry to plan the management hunting again. The ministry had launched earlier the same year the third version of the management plan of wolves.

Hunting was once again on the table, until the ruling of the EUCJEU came out on October 10th2019. The CJEU’s decision respected the Habitats Directive and its spirit and purpose, which is to protect species. It confirmed that derogation is allowed only in rare cases, when there is no other satisfactory alternative, and there is scientifically valid evidence that derogation is an effective solution to the problem.

In other words, killing is always the last resort, while other alternatives are primary. The court also highlighted the precautionary principle and noted that recommendations in permissions were not legally binding, thus allowing the killing of breeding and collared individuals.

The Court also underlined, that reaching a favorable conservation status requires a long-term observation and highlighted the need for biological evidence. In larger context, the management hunting of wolves did not follow the Directive’s requirements for when exceptions from strict protection was permissible.

Protections

The ruling of the CJEU concerns all species that are strictly protected under the Habitats Directive Annex IV and all the member states of the European Union. 

Why did we do this? We did it because we had to. The administration gave us no choice, since there was no genuine effort to listen to the environmental organizations and no honest intention to fulfil the Directive’s obligations. We succeeded only because we were right. We had a case and the means to prove it. The CJEU was not interested in who we were, but what we had to say.


The ruling of the CJEU authoritatively interprets the Habitats Directive and must be followed in every decision concerning strictly protected species in lawmaking, administrative decision making, as well as by courts.

The “Fellowship of The Ruling” must go on, we have still work to do. We continue to monitor that endangered species will have the full protection provided by the Habitats Directive in Finland.
At the moment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has set up a committee to find solutions on how to implement managemental hunting despite the ruling and without going into infringement proceedings with the EU Commission.
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Luipaard Offline
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#56

First camera trap of Belgian wolf Noëlla in broad daylight


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Sully Offline
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#57

Germany's wolves in the crosshairs
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Lycaon Offline
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#58

A wolf in Söhrewald Germany.


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Source: https://wolf-hessen.jimdo.com/w%C3%B6lfe-in-hessen/
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India Rishi Offline
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#59

WOLVES BACK FROM THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION IN GERMANY AFTER 100 YEARS
By  Euronews Living 
10/03/2020


*This image is copyright of its original author

Wolf populations are on the rise in Germany where the animals had previously been at risk of extinction.

Populations plummeted after centuries bearing the brunt of farmers’ anger for attacking livestock, while industrialisation and the development of infrastructure such as roads encroaching on their forest homes further diminished their chances of survival.

But in eastern regions of Germany, some wolf packs started making reappearances as they crossed over the border with Poland. The reason is the demilitarisation of the region, with abandoned military bases becoming a crucial factor in the wolves regaining their habitat.
Germany's wolves were first spotted in 1998, and are thought to have migrated from western Poland. Currently, wolves are said to number 1000 again, in atleast 70 packs now roaming in Germany, most of them in the eastern German region of Lusatia, and they are now still expanding their range to the west and north.

“What is remarkable is that the military areas acted as a stepping stone for the recolonization — and were far more critical than civilian protected areas in the early stages of recovery,” said Guillaume Chapron, a wildlife ecologist at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala.

The latest data suggest the country has 73 packs and 30 pairs of wolves. “Twenty years ago, no one would have expected this,” Ilka Reinhardt adds. He’s a biologist with Lupus, the German Institute for Wolf Monitoring and Research in Spreewitz. He thinks Germany’s fragmented habitat and the prevalence of roads and humans “shows how adaptable wolves are”.

What makes military bases special is that humans can’t access them while animals can. The difference seems to be poaching. Military training grounds aren’t fenced, making them open to animals but they are closed to the public and patrolled by federal agencies meaning poachers and hunters can’t get in.

In the last year alone, wolf populations have soared by as much as 36%, meaning poachers are even less of a threat now as they would likely be able to sustain their numbers.

However, unfortunately a lone wolf sighted in Belgium after a gap of more than a century, is suspected to have been shot by hunters.
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Sully Offline
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#60

Successful Dutch Pilot With Livestock Guarding Dogs

Back in 2018, the wolf resettled in The Netherlands. A year later, in 2019, the first wolf pack established itself in this densely populated country. It shows that wolves are able to adapt to the human-dominated landscape well. Yet, it also lead to the realisation that the Dutch had forgotten how to coexist with the wolf. After all, the last wolf was shot about 150 years ago. The conclusion was the knowledge about effective livestock protection measures had been lost over time. Therefore, a livestock farmer cooperated with regional authorities and ecological consultancy companies to initiate a 2-year pilot project. The pilot project focused on the implementation of livestock guarding dogs, to protect livestock from wolf attacks.

Using the right breeds

The pilot project had several aims. One of them was to gain experience how to work with livestock guarding dogs in The Netherlands. It was also the aim to establish a site, which demonstrates effective livestock protection measures. Furthermore, the project would contribute to increase acceptance for livestock guarding dogs and raise awareness about livestock protection.

The livestock owner and his team, who implemented the project for 2 years, has two sheep herds for grazing in natural areas. With support of the local landowners, locally existing fencing was improved to effectively keep wolves out. The livestock owner used livestock guarding dogs from the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Hungarian Kuvasz and Turkish Akbash breeds.

Two years without attacks

Working with the livestock guarding dogs mainly consisted of feeding, moving, bonding and training the dogs, besides cleaning their kennel. In total, the owner spent 5,4 hours per week on the dogs. Yet, the pilot successfully demonstrated the livestock guarding dogs are an effective protection measure against wolf attacks. During the 2-year project, not a single wolf attack, or attack from other dogs, took place on the protected herds. Another important conclusion was that owners need to inform locals and tourists to reduce the risk of incidents. Placing signs is not sufficient in some cases, therefore they need to actively speak to the people.

Livestock protection in the EU
Earlier this year, European Wilderness Society submitted together with a consortium of 18 organisations a request to fund a 5-year project on livestock protection measures in the Alpine region. Just like The Netherlands, the Alps are witnessing the return of the wolf after a long absence. The knowledge and experience on how to implement effective livestock protection must return in order to create a sound basis for sustainable coexistence between people and large carnivores. Through the LIFEstockProtect project, farmers’ associations will be able to train at least 1 000 farmers in the German speaking Alps on how to implement such livestock protection.
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