At the beginning of September, the European Wilderness Society team was in the field with a German television crew in Tirol and central Italy to film a new Hannes Jaenicke documentary. The television crew, accompanied by two renowned actors, will make a documentary about the challenges regarding the return of wolves and the challenges of livestock protection. The documentary will air in spring 2021 on the German channel ZDF.
Livestock protection in the alpine mountains
The first stop was Tösens in Tirol, a region which recently confirmed presence of eight different wolves. Tirol is characterised by steep rugged alpine mountains, where intensive livestock farming is still practiced. Many farmers have one or more herds of animals, such as sheep, goats and cows. Thus, they spend most of their time up in the mountain pastures during the summer season. Due to the presence of wolves, it is important that farmers have effective protection measures to avoid depredation. Together with the television crew, we filmed how local farmers use different ways to protect their livestock.
Researching wolves in Italy
In central Italy, one of the densest populations of the Apennine wolf exists in Majella National Park. The park, with a surface of 750 square kilometers, is home to approximately 100 wolves in 10 different packs. The wolves have always been in the area, thus, locals are used to live alongside them. Together with the TV crew, the EWS team looked at how Majella, which is also one of the oldest members of the European Wilderness Network, is performing research on the wolf.
The wolves in Majella are excellent at hunting wildlife, mostly wild boar and deer. Only on rare occasions wolves predate a sheep or goat, usually because of insufficient protection. 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.