The newspaper headlines counting sheep and sheep being slaughtered had their day. The real wolf is back and we have to learn to deal with it. Controversies are settling down, and solutions for dealing with attacks are diversifying. Has the time of wolves returned?
The wolf has returned to France. First by the Alps. Then in all south and all east. Today, according to France’s Biodiversity Office, the wolf occupies 145″area of regular presence“(ZPP).
The first series of attacks against a flock or herd of sheep caught herdsmen and their shepherds by surprise. Emotions pervade the livestock community. Why not escape the wolf again?
Since the wolf is a protected species under the Bern Convention (1979), ratified in 1990. Included on the IUCN Red List, the species is considered “”vulnerable” At France. And some nature conservation associations protect its teeth and nails.
After a period of heartbreak and controversy, the anti-wolf and the anti-wolf have made strides towards each other. It was their efforts and solutions that were embodied by director Jean-Pierre Valentin in his documentary “Our wild side, the wolf controversy“. Here are three good reasons to watch it in playback, find a few lines below.
And that the wolf does not eat the little red riders, nor the grandmothers. It lives alone or in games of pack and attack and easier prey, such as sheep and ewes. Today’s farmers lived through a period when wolves were exterminated from their region. An era has passed, considered idyllic. The good old days without the threat of wolves. “Living without wolves is not bad“One of them said.
In this complex dance, a new dancer has arrived. How will it be integrated into the ring?Virginie Maris, environmental philosopher, CNRS
But the wolf is back and with it comes attacks that, fatal or not, are always disastrous for breeders. ” In 2014, we came face to face with the wolf, with a wolf rejection approach“Franck Müller, breeder at Palameix Farm, in Meuse, explains. The only possible answer is compensation after certifying the responsibility of the wolves. attachment, as well as their livelihood.
A double punishment overwhelmed them and made them see only one solution: the slaughter of the wolf. Philosopher Virginie Maris summed it up as follows: “We don’t have internal habits that would allow us to live with predators. In this complex dance, a new dancer has arrived. How will it fit the ring?“
Opposite them are the guardians of wolves and biodiversity. Nature’s Servant Knight, mobilized to save a mythical animal. Two irreconcilable factions, with opposing interests?
It takes time first. And the goodwill of both sides. “Whatever the problem, we don’t ask ourselves for or against, we try to solve the problem the best we can, Franck Müller, breeder at Meuse, continues. And wolves are a real problem for breeders. How do we solve the problem? Solving the problem is not about killing all the wolves.“
For biodiversity defenders, the initial view is to do whatever it takes to preserve the return of the wolf. “When the wolf returns, I’ve enjoyed this presence for a long time. “Eric Vissouze, head of Pastoraloup, an association that advocates pastoralism in areas with wolves,” explains. Let’s step aside. “On the other hand, I have changed a lot from the evolution I see: I know close breeders have suffered so much because of this condition. I thought to myself, something is still wrong. It should at least be recognized“, recognize Eric.
The action is starting to take place and Eric is happy: “We are there to improve everything, the means of protection, the relationship between people, that is the most important thing to me. It is the sharing of people who have nothing to do with each other and those who have met. That alone is very positive.“
In Meuse, a partnership between Meuse Natural Environment and the Encore Eleveur Demain association is undertaking similar efforts. Sébastien Lartique, wildlife, carnivore and rural project manager at Meuse Nature Environnement puts it this way: “When we are alone we don’t necessarily listen and conversely when a breeder speaks alone, other associations think it is a breeder talking… When we are brought out to discuss together, to have a cross view. , it qualifies the topic, and those present begin to better understand the global context. It’s more rewarding, it allows you to move forward. “
After the dialogue it’s time to come up with possible solutions. Eco-volunteers, trained by livestock aid associations, come to assist shepherds in grazing and powering them up. Or the supportive wolves to come install the fence and experience for themselves the difficulty this presents. A good way to moderate the famous “Yaka-Focons” who assert their point of view and circumvent any attempt at compromise.
Sebastian admits:We realize that maintaining a fence is very complicated. We doubted it, but there we have to face it. It’s not just a matter of placing guard dogs and fences; there’s a lot of work that goes along with it.“A complicated job with guard dogs, which you have to be able to master. Not to mention the new problems these dogs create with hikers and wildlife. Alain Laurent , a naturalist and observer of wild carnivores in Haut-Rhin, asserts:The only effective means are guard dogs, guard dogs.“
Finally, despite the animal’s protected status, there are exceptions when wild dogs get too greedy: capture and sampling for protection is the last line of defense against attacks.
Learning to share nature and mountains in a different way, the wolf redistributes the cards with herders, shepherds, nature conservation associations, but also with hunters and hikers. Its wild presence repositions man, like a predator among others in a nature that is not always idyllic. A gradual return to concrete contact with wild nature.