Adopting livestock protection measures is very important, but LIFEstockProtect is also aware that implementing them requires some economic effort and also increased workload.
For this reason, as part of the project, LIFEstockProtect has decided to promote, among other actions, a network of volunteers who can support shepherds and farmers in their daily activities and in the implementation of livestock protection measures. This particular action of the project refers to other experiences already active in Europe, such as the project Pasturs, promoted by Eliante, and project Wikiwolves.
Network based on tried-and-tested model
This year LIFEstockProtect will begin testing its volunteer network with a few farmers in Austria, Bavaria and South Tyrol, but also aims to strengthen the network and support more and more farmers and shepherds in the coming years.
The project will start by adopting the method proposed by the Pasturs project, which requires that already trained volunteers spend at least one week on the farm, helping the farmer with what he will need. This activity offers concrete support to those who choose to adopt livestock protection measures, promotes the exchange of knowledge and best practices and is also an important opportunity for dialogue between people from different worlds: farmers, students, technicians. Through this activity, people meet, exchange ideas and points of view about work and livestock protection, and get to know each other.
A rewarding experience
Volunteers are asked to spend some time on the farm, get involved, and share their livestock protection knowledge and skills with shepherds and farmers. The activities carried out by the volunteers are diverse: they help the farmers taking care of livestock and in the daily management of the farm, they build fences, they work with the dogs (if any), they welcome tourists and explain the precautions that must be taken in the presence of livestock protection measures… The farmers who welcome the volunteers, in addition to sharing space, food and lodging with them, share their knowledge of the area and the animals, as well as their experience in this work.
Here are some testimonials from people who have already participated in the Pasturs project in Italy:
I have tried to look at the mountain with the eyes of the shepherd, eyes profoundly different from those who go to the mountains to hike, I have tried to walk it with the feet of the shepherd, fast and sure feet even where it seems impossible, I have tried to see that vertiginous landscape as the normal background for my daily activities. I have tried to do many things in the mountain pasture, my ideas have changed, they have been articulated, my perception of reality has been enriched and I know that from now on, when I see shepherds with their flock. I will think of Andrea and Veronica, of their effort, of their passion. A piece of me has remained up there with them, but I too will always carry with me a tinkling little piece of Alpe Manina.
…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…
To learn more and join the volunteer network, click here.