February 2021 News Update

After the public Kick-off conference at the end of January and a lot of press coverage afterwards, many people reached out to us. They asked for more information about the LIFEstockProtect project, the planned trainings and volunteer activities. This motivated the LIFEstockProtect team to progress even faster with the coordination of the livestock protection competence centres and volunteer network. Besides that, the data collection for most preparatory A actions has been finalised or is close to completion. And the communication team has exciting news: read on on to find out more!

Livestock protection competence centres and scat dog trainings

So called livestock protection competence centres will be established throughout the project region. Basically, these are farms that meet specific requirements regarding location, accessibility, livestock and availability during and beyond the project period. In the course of February, the LIFEstockProtect team defined the specific criteria for the competence centres and confirmed already the participation of many farms that reached out to the project. They will be the focal contact point for the livestock protection trainings and fence labs to test livestock protection materials. Their effort, of course, will be be compensated.

Depending on the available livestock and type of pastures, different trainings will take place in different competence centres. We aim for every interested individual to be able to participate in the different livestock protection trainings. Thus, we are making sure that the competence centres are distributed evenly within the project region of Austria, Bavaria and South Tyrol. The owners of the designated competence centres will be actively involved in the livestock protection trainings conducted at their farms. Like this, they also learn from experts and eventually will be able to conduct their own trainings and actively promote effective livestock protection in their region.

On another front we also made great progress: scat dog trainings, conducted by Naturschutzhunde, will start soon! The curricula has been finalised and we are now in the process of promoting the training to interested individuals. On Wednesday, 3rd of March 2021, a coordination meeting will inform them about the details of the training. Are you interested too? We still have a couple of spots left in the meeting (more details below).

2021wed03mar19:0021:00Virtual EventCoordination meeting Scatdogs19:00 - 21:00(GMT+01:00) View in my time Event Organized By: NATURSCHUTZHUNDE

LIFEstockProtect Podcast coming soon

Podcasting is a medium that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It is a great way to share expertise and valuable information in an interactive way. And it can be accessed through many different channels, no matter where you are. Wouldn’t it be great if one could learn about livestock protection while driving, cooking, or taking a walk? We thought so too! That’s why the LIFEstockProtect communication team is developing a concept for a LIFEstockProtect podcast right now. We aim to launch it as soon as summer 2021. As one says in the podcast world: stay tuned!

A action progress

As part of the A action 4, the action team has collected data about existing livestock protection trainings in the project region. This data will be used to develop project-specific trainings. Thus, building upon the best practices of current trainings and filling gaps in the different project regions. Interestingly, most trainings could be identified in Italy. This is a good indication that the planned trainings will add great value, especially in Austria and Germany. The curricula for the upcoming trainings will be developed in the course of the next months, based on the collected information.

In the course of February all partners were contributing to the stakeholder analysis. Together we identified hundreds of stakeholders in the project region that form now on will be actively involved in the project. This preliminary analysis will be used to invite interested individuals to thematic stakeholder workshops in the course of the project. This is of course a dynamic process, which means that the project stakeholder database will be updated on a frequent basis.

LIFEstockProtect in the news in February 2021

Podcast Land und Leben – das Magazin für Landwirtschaft: Interview mit Julia Stauder von Eurac Research

01/02/2021 Bioland Journal
09/02/2021 Kleine Zeitung
10/02/2021 Eurac Research
02/2021 Österreichische Hundezeitung

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January 2021 News Update

The first month of the new year has been a busy one. We started to collect data for the stakeholder analysis (preparatory action A2), participated in online events about livestock protection in Austria and Italy, and, eventually, organised and successfully held our first public online conference with more than 500 participants.

Online events – the new way to do networking

On 13th of January, Naturschutzakademie organised a webinar about livestock protection. They shared the general need for measurements in Austria and practical tips on how to do so. Several LIFEstockProtect partners participated in the event, which led to an interesting discussion and formed the basis for fruitful future collaborations.

On the 16th of January, the online conference Fauna 2021 took place with the topic “The wolf in Italy: current knowledge and future prospects”. Well-known experts from all over Italy presented the latest research in this field. The LIFEstockProtect project was also presented at this event. The approach “from the farmer for the farmer” received wide approval and aroused interest among the conference participants. Among the nine invited speakers was Piero Genovesi. He is the managing director of ISPRA (Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Environmental Research) and presented the current status of the first national wolf monitoring in Italy. They expect the first results in April. 

Simone Angelucci, veterinarian in the Majella National Park, Abruzzo, reported how livestock owners in the National Park in the middle of the Apennines have learned to protect their herds efficiently. This is particularly interesting because the region has one of the highest wolf densities in the world. You can also have a look at our trip to Majella in October 2020 to learn more about the situtation. He emphasized that there is no universal solution, but that livestock protection is effective given that farmers also receive the necessary technical and financial support. Duccio Berzi, expert in nature conservation and wildlife management, reported on new proactive livestock protection measures with GPS collars. They are currently being tested in the Veneto region of Italy. Like this, cattle farmers will be informed by SMS as soon as a wolf approaches their herd.

Online Alpine Livestock Protection Conference

Finally, we concluded the month with the official public Kick-off of the LIFEstockProtect project with the first multilingual Alpine Livestock Protection Conference. More than 500 people from 29 different countries participated in the event. A very practical focus characterised the event. Four farmers from Austria, Germany, and Italy shared their experiences and tips on why and how to implement successful livestock protection measures. Did you miss the conference? You can watch the recording on Youtube and you can download the presentations of the speakers and the Q&A here.

The day was rounded off by an online press conference that led to plenty of press coverage after the event. Here are some of our favourite articles from RTL, Bioland, Tiroler Tageszeitung, and BR24.

27/11/2021 RTL
27/01/2021 Tiroler Tageszeitung
27/11/2021 BR 24
27/01/2021 Bioland

Thank you for his very interesting morning. Congratulation to the team who organised the event! I’m looking forward to the next 5 years.

Andrea E.
Conference attendee

A first quarter with many achievements

The first four months of LIFEstockProtect ended with a project visit from NEEMO. During the first day of the meeting, the beneficiaries presented the progress of the preparatory A actions and the extensive press and social media coverage. In the first four months alone we counted 64 press appearances. The first quarter of a project usually is spend setting up the management structure and administrative procedures. Besides doing so, the LIFEstockProtect project also initiated all preparatory A actions and even almost completed some of them. For instance, the development of a training protocol for scatdogs, developed by Naturschutzhunde, is in its final stages.

We made also great progress in our stakeholder analysis. Based on the experiences of previous projects like LIFE WolfAlps EU, the A2 action team, led by Naturschutzbund Österreich, developed an extensive stakeholder matrix for the project region. We aim to identify who the key stakeholders are not only by ranking them according to their importance and influence on the project, but also according to their level of connectedness with other stakeholders. This will allow us to create a livestock protection network analysis that will, eventually, facilitate implementation of livestock protection measures.

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Livestock Protection Conference: 500+ participants

The first multilingual Alpine Livestock Protection conference took place online on the 26th of January. This conference was the official public Kick-off of the LIFEstockProtect project. In total, almost 500 participants joined the event and many more followed along on our Facebook page. A great success! Due to simultaneous translation of the German conference to Italian and English people all over Europe could join. Four livestock protection practitioners – farmers from Italy, Austria, and Germany – shared their experiences and expertise in livestock protection. The audience was very engaged with the content of the conference and asked many questions. To finish a great day, the LIFEstockProtect team also welcomed 55 journalists in an online Press Conference.

The Speakers: experienced farmers

The LIFEstockProtect project is unique because it is a project by, for and with agricultural organizations. The involved agricultural organizations, in the forefront BIOAUSTRIA Niederösterreich und Wien as coordinating beneficiary, take the initiative for livestock protection in the German-speaking Alpine region. Thus, the first of four livestock protection conferences also had a very practical focus. The presenters shared their experiences with livestock protection and gave valuable insights into why and how livestock protection is the way forward to live in coexistence with large carnivores.

René Gomringer from Bavaria, former director of the sheep farmers’ association, told the audience about the challenges of introducing livestock protection measures and how this led to his decision to found the Schafbüro. Currently, he is consulting farmers about livestock protection, amongst others. His experience is a valuable addition to the project. Afterwards, Fabio Boni shared his experience of working together with volunteers to protect livestock as part of the Pasturs project. It was interesting to hear his insights into the work of a shepherd in Italy, the challenges that come with it, and how beneficial volunteers can be.

Finally, the sheep farmer Walter Schmiedhofer from Styria in Austria and shepherd Thomas Schranz from Tyrol shared their perspectives on livestock protection. Walter just started to implement protection measures, whereas Thomas on the other hand has experience in different terrains, different measures and even worked with volunteers. Their different viewpoints but coherent opinion about the importance of effective protection measures complemented a successful conference.


Impressive numbers and positive feedback


In total, more than 500 people from all over Europe participated in the conference. The live-streaming of the conference on Facebook allowed to reach 5200 additional listeners. Of course, the majority of attendees came from Austria, Italy, and Germany. However, more than a third joined in from 26 other countries including the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Greece, the United States, and even Iceland!

In the background, the LIFEstockProtect team engaged with the audience via a Q&A, answering more than 200 questions in German, Italian, and English. The questions mainly focused on the practical aspect of livestock protection. The audience asked for advice, additional information on livestock protection trainings, and even offered to collaborate with the the project. This reassured us that the topic of livestock protection is more important than ever and that the stakeholders of the project, and even the general public, appreciate events like this greatly.

After the lunch break, the whole LIFEstockProtect team answered all pending questions in the Press Conference. 55 journalists and interested individuals were able ask project and region-specific questions. This naturally led to a lot of press coverage. You can find the best articles in our news section here.

Did you miss the conference? You can watch the recording on our Youtube channel and you can download the presentations of the speakers and the Q&A here:

LIFEstockProtect overview
Thomas Schranz
Walter Schmiedhofer
René Gomringer
Q&A Livestock Protection Conference

Eventually, the participants also expressed their positive feedback about the event and how it was set up. It confirmed that the efforts of offering simultaneous translation paid off and that it will not be the last online conference LIFEstockProtect will organise. In the following, we will share with you the feedback we have got:

Congratulations on the webinar and the translation. I hope to be able to watch the next one.” Gloca C. (Portugal)

„Vielen Dank für die Konferenz, war sehr informativ und sehr gut geführt.“ Marco S.  

„Meinen Glückwunsch zur gelungenen Konferenz. Es war gut zu sehen, dass es technisch möglich ist, eine Präsenzveranstaltung in gleichwertiger Umsetzung als Videokonferenz durchführen zu können.“ Michael G.

„Danke für die spannende Konferenz! Weiter so! Viel Erfolg!“ Mirjam S.

 „Ich bedanke mich für die Konferenz und die möglichkeit das alle Interessierten daran öffentlich teilnehmen durften. Auch wenn natürlich aufgrund der Komplexität des Herdenschutzes nicht alle Fragen beantwortet werden konnten war der Einblick sehr informativ. Auch die Moderation sowie die Dolmetscherfunktion war sehr gut. Würde mich auf weitere Aktivitäten dieser Art u.a. sehr freuen. Liebe Grüße aus Norddeutschland und einem Wolfsgebiet.” Anja F.

“Danke für die interessante Konferenz! Freue mich auf mehr Infos aus dem Projekt und bin gespannt auf eure Erfahrungen.” Marion E.

“Vielen Dank für den interesannten Vormittag! Kompliment an die Organisation! Ich freue mich auf die nächsten 5 Jahre. Grüße aus den Niederlanden.” Andrea E.

“Good luck with your work – we hope to include some good results in Carnivore Damage Prevention News.” Robin R.

“Vielen Dank an alle Organisatoren und Beitragendenden!” Carol G.

“Als heutiger Teilnehmer möchte ich an alle Vortragenden und an die Ausrichter ein großes Lob aussprechen! Danke!” Harald R.

“Das war sehr spannend und interessant, vielen Dank fürs Teilen.“ Jolanda T. 

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November 2020 news update

The year is almost over, and in the meantime the LIFEstockProtect project is gaining momentum. In November the project reports 27 activities including all 17 beneficiaries. Due to the current status of the pandemic most activities took place online, but this did not at all affect their success. On the contrary: even more people were able to join! Besides that, the communication team analysed the media presence of LIFEstockProtect so far and the results were striking.

Please also read: LIFEstockProtect in the news

Conferences, presentations and meetings!

Natuschutzhunde held an online conference for members, partners, interested people, and multipliers in the middle of November. The chairwoman presented LIFEstockProtect with a focus on the role of scat dogs to 60 participants. The conference dealt on the one hand with the factors that influence successful scat dog work and on the other hand with their role in solving nature conservation crimes. The speakers explained for example how wind, temperature and physical stress, as well as early support for puppies, can influence scat dogs at work. Livestock guarding dogs play another important role in livestock protection. Do you want to learn more about how livestock guarding dogs protect their livestock herd and how they are trained? Then check out these two documentaries.

Naturschutzbund Österreich presented the project at the annual meeting of the presiding board. Specifically, they shared information about the planned stakeholder analysis (Action A.2) and the thematic workshops (Action C.3). Furthermore, they asked for input for both of regional groups of Naturschutzbund Österreich. They also held a movie presentation in person, of course adhering to Covid19 regulations, screening the movie “Rückkehr der Wölfe” (Comeback of the wolf). After the movie, they shared information about wolves in Austria and presented LIFEstockProtect to the audience. This was a great event to establish valuable contacts with different stakeholders including veterinarians, farmers, and conservationists.

EURAC held a presentation about the tourist survey from 2018 at the Museum of Science in Bozen and gave an outlook of LIFEstockProtect actions that aim to improve the coexistence of tourism and livestock protection measure by implementing practical tools like workshops and field visits. They also participated together with the European Wilderness Society in a meeting with the Fachschule Salern, which initiated the development of an official certification scheme for shepherds in South Tyrol as part of the planned livestock protection trainings.

Bioland Beratung GmbH and Bioland Bayern introduced LIFEstockProtect to the Fachausschuss Schaf und Ziege, a committee of honory sheep and goat keepers that discusses directives, political, and agricultural developments.

Finally, Stefanie Morbach was hired by BUND Naturschutz Bayern to support the project.

Networking with other LIFE projects

BIOAUSTRIA Niederösterreich und Wien and the European Wilderness Society participated in the second part of the Welcome Meeting from EASME and NEEMO for all the LIFE coordinating beneficiaries of newly approved projects. They had the opportunity to present LIFEstockProtect to fellow LIFE Nature projects focusing on different species (LIFE Beavers, LIFE SYSEL, LIFE Bears with future, LIFE LYNXCONNECT). You can read more about the meeting in this blog post.

Additionally, the communication team got in contact with other LIFE projects outside of the project region, WolfBoreal and LIFE SWiPE among others, to form valuable connections for future collaborations.

Internally, all beneficiaries worked together to organise the official Kick-off Conference in January. This will be an exciting event and all interested individuals will be invited to join. We will hear about practical experiences of livestock farmers in Austria, Bavaria and South Tyrol. Interested? We will share more details soon. You can sign up for our newsletter to make sure that you don’t miss it. They also progressed in all preparatory A actions. For example, within the action A.2 a Stakeholder Analysis will be conducted, coordinated by Naturschutzbund Österreich, for which project-internal expertise is used to apply sound scientific methods to develop a stakeholder matrix and engagement plan.

LIFEstockProtect in the news

The project has been covered by the news extensively already! Since the project start in September until the end of November, we recorded more than 70 newspapers, magazines, and social media appearances – too many to share them all. Thus, we created a news specific page to share our favorite press appearances with you. You can find them in in our Press Center here, have a look!

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Presenting LIFEstockProtect at part 2 of LIFE19 Welcome Meeting

The second session of the LIFE19 Welcome Meeting took place this week with more than 200 participants. Both the coordinating beneficiary BIO AUSTRIA Niederösterreich & Wien and the European Wilderness Society participated in this meeting, which was organised by EASME and NEEMO. In this meeting, the coordinating beneficiaries of newly approved LIFE projects are invited to present their project to each other, and become more familiar with the Agency EASME that coordinates the LIFE programme on behalf of the European Commission.

Looking forward to the next LIFE period

The year 2020 marks the last year of the current financing period for LIFE projects. The programme is currently being revised by experts and will be published in the near future. In the opening speeches Angelo Salsi, the Head of Unit (EASME), shared some interesting details and achievements of the LIFE projects that are being financed by the LIFE programme. This was followed by a presentation from Frank Vassen from the Directorate General Environment – Nature unit. Mr. Vassen provided insight in the plans of the European Commission regarding the new EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, and what new focus topics will be important in the coming years.

Presenting our project to fellow LIFE projects

Following these first presentations, the participants were grouped in breakout rooms to present their own projects to others. The LIFEstockProtect project shared its breakout group with the following inspiring LIFE projects that focus on different mammal species:

LIFE BEAVER, coordinated by the Institute for Conservation of Natural Heritage (LUTRA), is focusing on the European beaver. The beaver has been locally extinct in Slovenia and Croatia for two centuries, and is now re-colonising its historical habitats. It has favourable conservation status in these two countries. However, its long absence means the beaver is now considered as a “new” species, and even a pest, with conflicts arising as the population increases. The project partners will improve awareness about the animal’s return, emphasising its positive impact on the environment. This will ensure public acceptance of the beaver and create positive attitudes towards the species. The institute will also strengthen cross-border cooperation between Slovenia and Croatia for exchanging best practices and synchronised population management. 

LIFE BEARS WITH FUTURE, coordinated by Fundación Oso Pardo, addresses the brown bear population in the Cantabrian mountains, which has been steadily increasing, while climate change represents a serious challenge for its conservation, making hibernation more difficult. The LIFE project will therefore ensure that bears have sufficient resources by planting chestnut trees and fruit-producing trees and shrubs, as well as purchasing land and striking agreements with landowners for their cultivation. The project will also address conflicts that relate to shorter wintering periods, carrying out an extensive information campaign. 

LIFE LYNXCONNECT, coordinated by the Andalusian Consultancy for Agriculture, Farming, Fishing and Sustainable Development. This project addresses the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) which is listed as ‘Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List. Its genetic diversity is among the lowest reported for any species, and current rates of natural migration are not enough to guarantee the viability of the global population. LIFE LYNXCONNECT aims to increase both the overall population size and the connectivity among Iberian lynx population nuclei, to assure a viable overall population and down-list the species to IUCN ‘Vulnerable’. The project team will consolidate four existing population nuclei, and create two new ones, by introducing captive-bred individuals, and creating stepping stones of favourable habitat to encourage gene flow between them. Actions will also reduce non-natural mortality by making road crossings safer, repair farm structures such as henhouses, and draw up agreements between landowners, hunters and farmers to reduce conflicts. 

LIFE SYSEL, coordinated by the Regional Association for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development, is all about the European ground squirrel. Once common in Central and Eastern Europe, the population and habitat range of the European ground squirrel is declining. The LIFE project will address this decline, carrying out grassland management to provide suitable habitat for the species and to re-connect its fragmented sites and thus boost its genetic viability. It will also tackle the threat of predation and lack of food supply, installing boxes and stone and wood piles, while planting favourable crops. It will also encourage replications beyond the initial target northwestern border area of its range.

We are very thankful to the support of the LIFE programme to turn the LIFEstockProtect project into practice. We are looking forward to sharing our experiences with other relevant LIFE projects, and look forward to learning from them vice versa.

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October 2020 news update

A lot of interesting things happened last month in LIFEstockProtect, thus, we want to share the news with you! In October, besides another exciting trip to Majella National Park, first meetings on the different A actions were initiated, data collection started, and our website is finally also available in Italian.

News overview

The European Wilderness Society and EURAC, together with three Austrian shepherds, returned to Majella National Park. The aim of this trip was to exchange experiences with local shepherds about how they implement livestock protection. As the Apennines in Central Italy represent one of the regions in Europe where wolves never disappeared, the exchange about best practices is crucial for similar implementation in the German-speaking region of the Alps. The team visited a sheep and goat farmer who owns more than 1.400 animals that are protected by 24 livestock guarding dogs; a cow farmer who explained how the cows are instinctively dealing with the presence of wolves in the region; and a young couple who just started their own goat farm three years ago. Read all the details of this trip here.

The working group on preparatory action A.2, a stakeholder analysis, consisting of Naturschutzbund Österreich, EURAC, Umweltdachverband Österreich, ELIANTE and BUND Naturschutz Bayern got together for a first online meeting. Experiences where shared by Anna Crimella (ELIANTE), who has performed stakeholder involvement for many years already. A draft template for stakeholder mapping was subsequently developed in collaboration with the other LIFE project LIFEWolfAlps EU. Over the course of the next weeks and months, the partners will continue to develop relevant baseline information to prepare a lobby network plan which will then be used for effective stakeholder engagement.

Naturschutzhunde had a meeting in the beginning of October after an exciting dog training weekend in Ansfelden and organized the administration for the project. Also, they are making great progress in the preparatory action A.5 and A.6. They are collecting detection dog training protocols from other organisations and countries, and are assessing among relevant stakeholders who is interested to participate in the planned training. Together with VetMedUni Wien, Österreichzentrum Bär, Wolf, Luchs, and ELIANTE, they will look at ways to effectively train scatdog owners to collect scats for genetic analysis further on in the project. Finally, they are organizing an online workshop for Saturday 14th of November, which will give interesting insights into the different uses of detection dogs!

The LIFEstockProtect team of Bavaria, consisting of Bioland Bayern, Bioland Beratung GmbH, BUND Naturschutz Bayern und OPUS, established a weekly online jour fixe meeting to discuss project progress in the region and to tackle the data collection of wolf-livestock depredation, livestock protection impact, the human dimension and legislation for preparatory action A.3.

The European Wilderness Society established effective communication channels through different platforms for all project partners and is in the process of ordering marketing material to be used by all partners throughout the project realization. Together with EURAC, they also updated the project website. It is now available in English, German, and Italian!

Press appearances

October has also been a successful month in terms of press appearances, especially in Italian media! Here is a selection of media platforms that covered the LIFEstockProtect project with a direct link to the article:

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Attending the LIFE19 Welcome Meeting

Earlier this month, the coordinating beneficiary BIO AUSTRIA Niederösterreich & Wien and associated beneficiary European Wilderness Society attended the LIFE19 Welcome Meeting. Usually, this meeting takes place in Brussels, at the headquarters of EASME. This year however, the first 2 days of the meeting took place virtually due to the corona restrictions. This meeting aims to welcome and introduce all newly approved LIFE projects to the programme and its regulations. The second part of this LIFE19 Welcome Meeting will take place mid-November. This is where we will present LIFEstockProtect to other approved LIFE projects in the Nature subprogram.

The LIFE programme, EASME and NEEMO

The LIFE programme is a funding instrument of the EU for projects concerning the environment and climate action. It was created in 1992 and its budget continues to grow with every funding period. The current funding period 2014-2020 has a budget of €3.4 billion. A significant part of this is allocated to the subprogram Nature, where LIFEstockProtect falls under. The European Commission set up the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) to manage on its behalf the LIFE programme. EASME also manages several other EU programmes regarding SME support & innovation, environment, climate action, energy and maritime affairs. At this moment there are approximately 1.000 LIFE projects ongoing. Therefore EASME has an external monitoring team to evaluate the performance of the projects. NEEMO is responsible for this monitoring, and consists of a consortium of international experts from the European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG).

During the LIFE19 Welcome Meeting, Angelo Salsi from EASME and Jan Silva from NEEMO introduced their organisations to the participants. Their colleagues shared more details with the project beneficiaries about financial administration and reporting regulations. Furthermore, we discussed effective ways and best practices to communicate and disseminate information about the project to the general public and important stakeholders. Afterwards there was time for a Q&A session to cover some of the most pressing issues that some beneficiaries are currently facing.

For our project, this was a very useful meeting! Of course it was good to get to know the people behind EASME and NEEMO better. Yet it was also helpful to get more practical tips and advice on how to adhere to the programme’s regulations. We are already looking forward to the second part of the LIFE19 Welcome Meeting, where we will present our project to fellow LIFE19 projects online.

Project update: first successful weeks

A lot has already happened since the start of the project LIFEstockProtect in September. On the one hand, each partner set up project management and administration. On the other hand, some already started to collaborate with stakeholders to work towards the goals of the different project actions. Here is a summary of the activities of the first six weeks:

General update

  • All project partners participated in the successful 2-day Kick-off meeting on 22nd and 23rd of October. We looked into details of the project organization, administration, financial management and communication. Additionally, we planned the next steps and established multiple working groups to tackle the planned preparatory actions.
  • The project management team participated in the welcome meeting of the LIFE programme on the 7th and 8th of October. During this meeting, all LIFE projects which launched in 2020 had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge on project management requirements, financial management and guidelines on communication.

Austria

  • Several employees and volunteers from the European Wilderness Society tested the planned livestock protection volunteer training activities in Tyrol. They supported a local livestock owner with herding 200+ sheep, moving them from the mountains to the valley, and assisted in collecting the fences for the winter season.
  • The European Wilderness Society accompanied the television crew from ZDF to Tyrol and Central Italy (Majella National Park) who are producing a documentary on the return of the wolf and arising challenges for livestock protection. The documentary, which is expected to air in spring 2021, will include the LIFEstockProtect project and will showcase one of the locations of a livestock protection competence centre, established within the project.
  • Naturschutzhunde has contacted several organizations from the field of wildlife detection to put together all the information necessary for the creation of the certification and curriculum of scat dog teams.

Italy

  • The EURAC team visited a farmer on the Seiser Alm. Together, they fixed an electric fence to protect sheep against wolf attacks. The conversation revealed that the farmer already experimented a lot with different kinds of fences and gates. His property is situated in a touristic area, which can cause conflicts, for example when visitors do not close gates properly. The farmer is interested to be involved in the LIFEstockProtect fence lab to share his knowledge and to assist in the development of new and better tools to protect livestock.
  • The European Wilderness Society visited Majella National Park to learn about the extensive research they conduct on wolves. Wolves have always been present in the area, thus, locals are accustomed to living alongside them. The researchers of the park management explained to us how they perform research to study the wildlife interaction with wolves, and many more interesting topics.

Germany

  • OPUS and BUND Naturschutz Bayern finalized the hiring process of project managers.
  • BUND Naturschutz Bayern presented the LIFEstockProtect project to the audience of the anniversary conference “25 years Nationalpark Unteres Odertal” in Brandenburg.
  • The Bavarian LIFEstockprotect team held an online-meeting on the 7th of October to discuss important issues regarding financing, administration, and planning of the livestock protection competence centers.

LIFEstockProtect Has Kicked Off

LIFEstockProtect, the largest and most ambitious livestock protection project in the German-speaking Alpine region, is off to a flying start. After its approval this summer, it officially started on the 1st of September 2020. Last week, the internal Kick-Off meeting of all beneficiaries signalled the next step in the process. As result of Covid restrictions, the meeting took place online. However, this could not overshadow the enthusiasm of all participants that the project was finally starting.

Work has started

Even though LIFEstockProtect has only just completed its first month of the five year project period, work has already started and the first obstacles have been cleared. Many partners are hiring or have already hired new staff to implement the project. The tendering process has begun and external expertise acquisition is ongoing, contributing to project implementation with material and expertise. Feedback from many participants has evidenced the media’s interest in livestock protection. Not only has a film crew already produced material about LIFEstockProtect for a German TV documentary, but outreach activities have taken place in many places.

It was great to finally officially kick-off LIFEstockProtect with all beneficiaries. Everyone is excited to start with the ‘real’ work and help farmers with livestock protection. At the same time, it was impressive to see the partners´ commitment and the work they have already done this summer.

Max Rossberg- Project Manager of LIFEstock Protect and Chairman of the European Wilderness Society

Some of those involved even spent their summer holiday preparing the project. Moreover, some visited the ‘Almen‘, typical summer pastures in the Alps, to get an idea of possible project locations and to visit affected the farmers. Futhermore, the European Wilderness Society took the immersive experience even further. During the Kick-Off meeting, two employees and three volunteers were in a rural area in Tyrol, Austria to support a local sheep farmer with the ‘Almabtrieb’, the traditional herding of sheep back down to the valley in the autumn. They went from the online conference room directly back to the mountains.

Participants attended the meeting from over 13 different locations all across the project area:

The Next Steps In LIFEstockProtect

In the following months, project partners will focus on setting up work structures for LIFEstockProtect and starting the preparatory actions. This includes collecting information about the current state of livestock protection in the German-speaking Alps and preparing the educational and livestock protection training courses, which will start next spring.

LIFEstockProtect approved: start 1.9.2020

On September 1st, under the leadership of BIO AUSTRIA Niederösterreich / Vienna, the largest livestock protection project, co-financed by the EU, called “LIFEstockProtect” starts in Austria, Bavaria, South Tyrol.

LIFEstockProtect is financed with a budget of 5 million euros and is aimed at all livestock farmers for a period of 5 years, regardless of whether they are cattle, cows, pigs, poultry, sheep, horses or goat farmers. The project is carried out under the leadership of BIO AUSTRIA Niederösterreich / Vienna. During the project development, special attention was paid to the expertise of livestock protection experts from agriculture as well as the involvement of numerous agricultural organizations, environmental protection associations and public institutions.

Another important focus is the development of knowledge for the breeding and use of livestock protection dogs, as well as the touristic challenges regarding the implementation of livestock protection.

“With submission and approval, we ensure that all livestock owners, regardless of whether they are obliged to graze on grassland or not, can pursue their profession despite the predators’ return.”Otto Gasselich, lead partner and chairman of BIO AUSTRIA NÖ / W

Otto Gasselich
Leadpartner und Obmann BIO AUSTRIA NÖ/Wien

The project will train more than 1000 livestock owners in all aspects of livestock protection. These trainings are aimed at all livestock owners, livestock protection advisors, veterinarians, shepherds, agricultural livestock protection advisors and official representatives.

“Professional education and training is indispensable for the successful implementation of livestock protection in the entire Alpine German-speaking region. That is why the 180 training courses are conducted by experienced agricultural livestock protection experts. ”

Max A E Rossberg
Projektmanager und Obmann European Wilderness Society

The kick-off event is planned for November 2020, taking into account the conditions imposed by COVID-19. Three more livestock protection conferences will be held in the following years. The first of a total of 180 training courses and workshops will be offered from spring 2021.

Press release DE
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