How can which mountain pastures in Austria be protected?

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Austria’s alpine pastures differ greatly in terms of upwelling numbers, altitude and terrain. In the course of the LIFEstockProtect project, an evaluation scheme for the implementation of herd protection measures on Austria’s mountain pastures is to be developed. The focus is on the protection of sheep and goats. Possible measures include herding with night pens, herding and livestock guarding dogs or fencing. Afterwards, more than a dozen mountain pastures will be visited to validate the results. To get a first impression, four sheep farms were visited in the past two project years. No herd protection measures have yet been implemented on the first two, but on the last two there has already been herding with night or bad weather pens, herding dogs and in some cases also with livestock guarding dogs.

The first two mountain pastures were very different from each other. The first was a small fenced pasture with about 30 rams. The second pasture was a large pasture with several hundred sheep. They were mainly out and about in the mountain pine fields, so we didn’t see a single one.

The last two mountain pastures were above the tree line with several hundred sheep and a few goats. The two guard dogs were hardly interested in our group. It was also possible to see that herding with a permanent presence of shepherds during the day and also the construction of night and bad weather pens were possible despite the steep terrain.

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