Protecting the Livestock from the Wolf
The Standard for the Protection of Livestock was developed for the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic under the aegis of the Czech University of Life Sciences in cooperation with breeders and other collaborators.
“The proposed measures herein are not based on theory, they are based on the practice of Czech and foreign breeders. We pay attention to the appearance and permeability of the landscape, therefore high fences are not recommended. Wolves enter the enclosure most often by crawling or digging under the fencing, so quality protection at the ground is essential,“ explains František Groessl, livestock breeder from the Czech Union for Nature Conservation, one of the co-authors of the Standard.
The Standard includes the protection of grazing animals (sheep, goats, cattle) from the wolf and brown bear, as well as the security of bee colonies against bears. It is accompanied by drawings and describes the possible combinations of measures that the livestock farmer can apply and which, as a result, can effectively protect the herds. It is based on proven and successfully implemented measures in our country and elsewhere in Europe. It deals with possible ways of protecting herds from predators, such as other management of grazing, supervision of a man - herder, the work of a livestock guardian dogs or use of technical measures (various types of fencing). Ideally, it is good to combine all of these ways.
Compliance with the Standard today is not binding for the recognition of a claim for compensation for damage to domesticated animals under Act No. 115/2000 Coll. on the granting of compensation for damage caused by selected specially protected animals. However, during the preparation of the amendment of the aforementioned Act in the course of 2021, the Standard will be used to define the minimum mandatory security of grazing animals for the entitlement to a claim for damages.
"Now, according to the law, the damage is paid even if the pasture is surrounded by a single wire, under which the wolf can pass simply. This should be changed in the future and the payment of compensation should be linked to minimum preventive measures, and the basis for this will be this Standard. This is the case in some German states (Bundesländer) and the Swiss have also been debating it," explains Jindřiška Jelínková from the Nature Protection Agency of the Czech Republic. "Some of the breeders are really trying to take preventive measures for their herds, but we go to many others to investigate the damage repeatedly and we see that nothing has changed. Wolves then learn to walk into the enclosures, which, in the end, harms everyone else," she adds.
Photo: Staffan Widstrand