Third volunteer training course successfully held in 2023

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At three training sessions this year, we briefed 34 volunteers who want to get actively involved in livestock protection on the basics of livestock protection, wolf behaviour and volunteer work. The trainings took place in the Allgäu, Upper Bavaria and now, most recently, in Lower Franconia.
Part of the training is always the theoretical knowledge transfer closely linked to the exchange with livestock farmers. The training courses took place on farms or livestock farmers in the region were visited. This is the only way to develop an understanding of the issues and importance of pasture management.

In Lower Franconia, we were able to use the grounds of the Geiselwind climbing forest and always found a dry spot in the party tent during the numerous rain showers. Thanks to the knowledge of Dirk Pieper, active in Wikiwolves Bavaria and the large carnivore network, a focus on wolves, wolf behaviour and population dynamics was created. This background knowledge is also interesting for livestock protection.

Then it was time for practical work on the pastures. Here the participants set up various types of net fencing, discussed the differences and, above all, explained and learnt about the connection of pasture fencing equipment and earthing.

The travelling shepherd from the region and his colleague joined us for the evening barbecue.
The second day focussed on transhumance, conservation grazing and the use of herding and livestock guarding dogs. The shepherd uses the livestock guarding dogs primarily as a defence against corvids (lambing season) and “two-legged wolves”, as he calls them. He has not had any more problems with livestock depredation since he started working with the dogs 10 years ago. Livestock guarding dogs and herding dogs are with the herd during herding. The livestock guarding dogs remain in the pen behind electrified net fences during the midday and night breaks. For almost three hours the participants, including representatives from nature conservation organisations and authorities, were able to ask the shepherd questions. The discussion started with the marketing of sheep and went through to transhumance, the danger of roads, the shortage of grazing land and competition for use (biogas, maize), but also the specific use and handling of dogs. The participants expressed wishes for a good future for grazing.

A lot of input came from the participants themselves, who were a colourful mix of volunteers, dog trainers, public authority employees, hunters and biologists from Vienna to Berlin. This exchange also contributed greatly to the success of the two training days and provided the impetus for the exchange of contact details and further collaboration.

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