The Tyrolean coalition in Austria has published their government programme for the period 2018 to 2023. In this agreement, the coalition confirms that it supports and finances herd protection in the province. Tyrol follows the South Tyrolean government in Italy to acknowledge the need to invest and implement proper herd management. This will enable a sustainable coexistence of livestock and wildlife in both short- and long-term.
Financing herd protection and unbureaucratic compensation
The coalition agreement states to address:
The protection of pastural and grazing animals from large carnivores as a special concern. Therefore, the financing of herd protection measures and unbureaucratic compensation payments by the public sector should be carried out.
Original: “Den Schutz der Alm– und Weidetiere vor großen Beutegreifern als ein besonderes Anliegen. Daher ist die Finanzierung von Herdenschutzmaßnahmen und unbürokratischen Schadensabgeltungen seitens der öffentlichen Hand vorzunehmen.”
Following the facts
Proper herd management is a key component, especially now that large carnivores like the wolf return to many corners of Europe. The protection measures to implement proper herd management show their effectiveness in different countries. For example, Switzerland has been pioneering in the usage of guard dogs, in Germany shepherds, dogs and fences decrease wolf depredation (almost) to zero. Furthermore, scientists showed that herd management is more effective than killing wolves. Instead, people must focus on practical implementation and compensation systems. One of the best examples is a shepherdess in the middle of the Swiss Calanda wolf pack territory.
Wolf return helps, not threatens
There is opposition against the return of the wolf, which is supposedly threatening the traditional alpine herds. However, the return is one of the best developments that farmers, shepherds, hunters and even politicians can ask for. Because it shows the gaps in current legislative systems and the need for financial and material support. Rural populations will support politicians who financially help the people. The hunters see how the wolf helps to regulate the overpopulation of deer and boar, which benefits forest conditions. And livestock owners and shepherds will be able to continue their work with proper tools and measures, keeping traditions alive in a sustainable coexistence with wildlife. Consequently, because of alpine grazing, biodiversity will continue to flourish. If coexistence existed for hundreds of years in some European countries, why wouldn’t it also be possible in the other countries.
As the Tyrolean governmental coalition states:
With the preservation of protective forests and the management of alpine pastures, Tyrolean farmers also make an important contribution to the protection of settlement areas and the preservation of biodiversity.
Original: “Mit der Pflege von Schutzwäldern und der Bewirtschaftung von Almflächen leisten Tirols Bäuerinnen und Bauern darüber hinaus einen wichtigen Beitrag zum Schutz von Siedlungsgebieten und zum Erhalt der Artenvielfalt.”
You find the full Tyrolean governmental programme below: