an association is experimenting with night surveillance

As a precaution against wolf attacks, the Mammal and Mammal Group of Limousin (GMHL) will launch night surveillance on the Plateau de Millevaches from this Thursday, May 26, 2022.

The wolf began to strain the population in Limousin. Scared predator. For good reason, for several months, wolf raids followed, and on the Millevaches plateau, there was talk of a gray wolf hunting boom.

According to the French Biodiversity Office, as of December 2021, more than 35 pack attacks have been attributed to wolves. This May, in some places like Chavanac, “attacks happen every day, and even in the middle of the day”, Confessions of a breeder who prefers to remain anonymous. Some said they were exhausted.

At a request from the breeders of the Peyrelevade Pastoral Group, the Limousin Mammal and Zoological Group is calling for volunteers to sleep near the herds. The goal is to provide supervision to reduce fatigue and distraction for some breeders during this difficult time.

We get 5 to 10 calls from breeders every week. Currently, the vegetation is high and the animals are outdoors, so farmers are asking us to find a solution to avoid predators.

Alizé Bresnu, intern in charge of carnivore research at GMHL.

There are several ways to reduce the risk of being eaten. There are fences, the fear of the sounds usually emanating through very loud radios, the broadcasting of human voices, the fox lights (an independent light device that glows and flashes randomly), the fladrys (an electrical wire with light and sound tape), and today GMHL wants to test night surveillance.

A means Alizé Bresnu tested in the Southern Alps. There, the wolf appeared quite a long time ago, as early as 1993. So since several years now, they have been working on solutions to drive it away from the pack. Near the Parc du Mercantour, Alizé spent several nights taking over herders to keep an eye on the animals and “works fine”, she explained. ” There we have additional guard dogs that represent a formidable warning. But for Alizé Bresnu, tracing the remedies used in the Alps in Limousin is not a problem because the natural environment is not the same and so are the methods of husbandry.

Currently, the Mammal and Zoological Group in Limousin has mobilized seven volunteers, ready to start these surveys. Trained for half a day by GMHL, Natural Conservatory, and a pastoral association in the Limousin Mountains, these volunteers are not for or against the wolf. “We don’t want our volunteers to have a frenzied attitude, we want them to have an approach like ours, a benevolent approach to being as effective as possible.” Marie Abel, Carnivore and Mammal Project Manager at GMHL explains .

The presence of humans can deter wolves. Noise and odors emitted by people can keep predators away.

Marie Abel, Predator and Mammal Identification Officer at GMHL.

The idea is for a volunteer to go there, the breeder greets him, lends him a lamp so he can see far into the herd, and in the night, if he hears something, he can make a noise and make a noise”, details Mary .

Night surveillance begins this Thursday, May 26, 2022, for two weeks in Peyrelevade.

Breeders who contact by phone are very cautious, even annoyed by this measure.

It does not use. We’ll do a 14-day experiment out of 365… folklore is enough. That won’t solve the problem. I am exhausted. I spend my nights, my days there.

Pascal Lerousseau, shepherd farmer and president of the Creuse Chamber of Agriculture

The chairman of the agriculture department was angry. With his sons, he takes turns monitoring his livestock 24 hours a day. ” These nocturnal surveying devices, set up by the GMHL, may help you avoid an attack, but that will take longer. I want to see them in December, in February, among the sheep! Today, we have social choices to make. We have a war in Ukraine that has the potential to cause food problems for humans…so, do we have measures to protect the presence of an animal to please the scientists? save the environment at the cost of food? ”

Another breeder admitted to being a skeptic. She wants to remain anonymous because this audience tends to be farmers among them. Now, to avoid being hunted, she grazes sheep not far from her farm and brings them in at night. The volunteers’ nocturnal monitoring was informed to her that “bandage the haemorrhage”, she speaks.

We are reaching a stage where attacks are happening on a daily basis and where they are happening in the middle of the day. This monitoring is an extremely punctual solution, not a medium to long term solution.

“I’m fine with people sleeping in tents, but despite the human presence in the middle of the day in the mountains, there are attacks. So what are these volunteers going to do at night? Are they really? to stop the wolf? “Raising sheep is a job, it’s a shepherd.”

Marie Abel, Predator and Mammal Genealogist at GMHL knows: “There is no magic solution. Zero risk of predation does not exist. Surveillance is an addition to protection, but it does not guarantee the end of predation.”.

It is for this reason that GMHL strives to act on a case-by-case basis. Today, he asked livestock producers to fill out a questionnaire that could establish a diagnosis of farm exposure risk or predation plot. It’s called CERP. It is a very accurate, free, collaborative tool, designed thanks to an experimental study conducted with ecologists, ecological sociologists, breeders, ethnologists, scientists ethnographer, agronomist. A tool on which the GMHL relies and could have fruitful implications in the future.

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