A new case study in Saxony-Anhalt reveals that, when applied correctly, protection measures can significantly reduce livestock losses.
Conflict with humans is bound to arise when wolves recolonise areas of farmland, and livestock losses become more likely. Since the wolf’s return to Saxony-Anhalt, where over half of the land is managed for agriculture, the German state has seen a surge of attacks on cattle. Many affected pastures were only defended by 1-2 electrified cords, making it easy for depredation to occur.
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Five cords are better than one
To test the efficacy of increased protection measures, the state environment agency launched a project in 2017 with heavily-affected farms. They encouraged farmers to implement a new fencing system which included five electrified cords. Farmers did report a heavier workload with applying these changes. Despite this, there wasn’t a single attack on fenced pastures for the duration of the project.
Hopefully the success of this case will be replicated as more measures are introduced across Europe. Although livestock protection costs a bit more time and money, this can’t compare to the cost of needlessly losing livestock each year.