In Cantal, the summer period sees an increase in the number of hikers up the mountain. In this context, it is necessary to reiterate some advice in the presence of pack guard dogs.
Since 2016, the presence of wolves in the Cantal has become more frequent and the Cantal Mountains area is classified as an area of frequent wolf presence. In fact, the sheep and goat herders in the department had to take certain protective measures to avoid being predated by their animals. The most effective method of repelling predators is the presence of pack guard dogs.
Therefore, you will be able to observe Cantal dogs of the Pyrenean Mountain and Shepherd of Anatolia breeds in the plots or mountain meadows: these are herd guard dogs.
Guard dogs are effective because they treat the pack like their own family, so their instincts drive them to defend the pack against any possible threat. They use deterrence (including barking), but do not attack people if some basic rules are followed.
To keep hikers informed, information boards, powered by DREAL Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, remind you what to do. They are taped to fences and around relevant hiking trails. In the presence of pack guard dogs, here’s what to do:
• Signal your presence so as not to surprise your dog while you are on guard duty,
• Stay calm and avoid sudden movements (don’t run),
• Place an object between you and the dog (coat, backpack, etc.) to redirect its attention,
• Stay away from fences and don’t cross fences,
• Do not cross the pack and walk around the flock widely (keep your distance, stop when the dog recognizes you, stay calm and passive, do not pet them),
• On a bicycle, get off and walk along it until you pass the herd,
• Keep your dog on a leash.
… Respect the work of shepherds, guard dogs and the tranquility of animals.
Focus on equipment to protect livestock against state-supported predators
Herding dogs are part of a herd defense system against predation, a priority action of the national wolf control plan. In 2021, in Cantal, the State supported the purchase and maintenance of about 60 dogs, up to 40,000 euros. All cities in the department are affected by this protection system, which aims to:
• ensure pastoral activity despite the growing restriction of predation,
• assist individual breeders, members or collectives in the development of their livestock systems by limiting the additional costs associated with the protection of herds.
The herd protection system measures are co-funded by the ministry of agriculture and FEADER as well as by the ministry of ecological transition and solidarity.
They are carried out in 4 types of areas (called circles) that are demarcated by the governor according to the predation pressure on sheep or goat herds.
Herds of sheep and goats made up of 25 or more breeds are eligible. For dairy herds, this minimum threshold is lowered to 10 breeds.
Several options can be supported to protect the flock:
▪ Enhanced protection or enhanced surveillance
This option is funded at 80% and is accessible to farmers grazing their flocks within 1. However, these costs are capped annually.
▪ Purchase and maintain guard dogs
This measure is accessible to breeders within 1, 2 and 3. Dogs must be correctly identified and vaccinated, including against rabies.
a fixed annual price for the maintenance of the dogs,
Support 80% when buying a dog,
100% support for behavioral tests,
However, these costs are capped annually.
▪ Equipment investment
For the creation of stationary or mobile electrified parks: this measure can be funded up to 80% to ranchers grazing their livestock in rounds 1 and 2. The electrification system is sufficient. conditions and control equipment, anti-theft system specific to electrical equipment as well as labor costs when the beneficiary uses a company for this achievement. However, this expenditure is limited to the period 2016-2021.
▪ Technical Support
This consulting service is intended to help implement means of protecting flocks or improving their effectiveness. Aid rate for this measure is 100%; It is for all breeders.
In circles 2 and 3, technical assistance is limited to guard dogs.
Locally, the services of the Directorate of Territories are available to assist facilities in their protection planning.
The 2022 application submission campaign has just ended on June 30, 2022.
More information about the herd protection system against predators:
Download the press release:
2022 07 06 cattle stock (pdf format – 161.5 kb – 07/07/2022)