Since the beginning of the project, LIFEstockProtect has been supporting the Wikiwolves volunteer initiative in Bavaria. It was founded several years ago in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and now has a contact person in almost all German federal states. Wikiwolves Bayern has already had several work assignments this year, many of them in Franconia. They helped a cattle farmer during several weekends to rebuild 14km of fence, as well as supported game farmers through short-term emergency missions. There wolf attacks ahppened very shortly after each other. In order to prevent further wolf visits, net fences were installed around the enclosures.
Please also read: Livestock Protection – A Question of Honor!
Helping hands bring people closer together
Important in such operations is not only the active help. An at least as important component is the bringing together of different groups. Many volunteers advocate the return of wolves, but very few have direct points of contact, restrictions or worries when the animal moves through the landscape again. However, most livestock farmers could of course refrain from the return or presence of predators that pose a danger to their animals. That is why working together is so important: it makes it possible to listen to and understand the views of the other person. This is an important point for the entire process of dealing with wild and farm animals.
But of course, with each action, the volunteers learn more about fence construction and get insights into the operating processes, difficulties in agriculture, dealing with different livestock species, partly also with livestock guarding dogs. And in addition, without exception, they are gratefully welcomed everywhere and very well catered for with in-house and local products!
Operation: Water buffalos at the Lech
In the summer, Wikiwolves was asked to fence in a forest pasture for water buffalos. As the farmer had to fence the area anyway, he decided to take also livestock protection aspects into account. The region is not a wolf area, but there have been several indications or evidence of individual passing wolves along the Lech.
Five volunteers supported the family in building the fence. The wooden corner posts were already set, so they had to still get the T-posts into the earth, fasten the insulators for 5 strands and fix the wires. The fence road had been prepared and cleared by the local forester and his workers and also the sandy soil made the work bearable – which does not mean, however, that they did not sweat properly! Four hectares of land had to be fenced. Relatively quickly, small working groups were formed that worked one after the other. At the end of the day, everything was done, only the tensioning of the wires was still outstanding and the gates had to be installed.
With a press event, the new pasture area was inaugurated on 22th of September 2021. This grazing area is also something special for the landscape conservation association and the Lechtal habitat project. The animals will help in the forest to preserve and expand the habitat of the Frauenschuh, a species of orchid.