how to prepare to live with him?

The breeders of the Center for initiatives to promote agriculture and the rural environment (Civam) – PPML (Produce, share and eat locally) have undertaken “a pioneering, innovative and relevant approach”, appreciates Olivier Thaler. It is to anticipate, rather than to act “badly and urgently”, that around twenty breeders from La Double (out of 31 Périgord municipalities and four Gironde municipalities) have embarked on a risk prevention plan. of predation.

A pragmatic approach

“From 2017-2018, we saw what was happening towards the Alpine arc [NDLR : la présence du loup a été attestée, dans le Mercantour, en 1992]. Some colleagues who gave up, others who retrained, ”recalls the president of Civam, Éric Guttierrez. A meeting was decisive, underlines this sheep breeder based in Saint-Christophe-de-Double: that of Antoine Nochy. Disappeared in 2021, this ecologist and philosopher who had worked in Yellowstone, in the United States, defended a pragmatic approach (1). “If we want to protect the wolf, we have to protect the breeders”, summarizes Hadrien Raggenbass. Ethologist and bioethnologist, this former student of Antoine Nochy has taken up the torch at the head of the Houmbaba association.

Eric Guttierrez and Hadrien Raggenbass.

Stephanie Claude

It is he who will receive the information fed back from the field by the “wolf lookouts” that the Civam wants to post in the Double. A condition for playing “the eyes of the consensus network”: being a regular user (hunter, forester, hiker) of the territory’s natural spaces (2). Saturday, April 23, in Saint-Christophe, the ethologist trained his first informants.

The right clues

What should they watch out for? A symmetrical print, with four fingers ending in claws? A photo with a scale. A serpentine poop (like that of the fox), but of a good size? Hop, direction a zipped plastic bag. “Participatory science, with people who know the area,” promises the network facilitator who will analyze the data.

This cast is that of a wolf's footprint recorded by Hadrien Raggenbass on the Millevaches plateau, in Limousin.  It measures approximately 13 cm by 10.

This cast is that of a wolf’s footprint recorded by Hadrien Raggenbass on the Millevaches plateau, in Limousin. It measures approximately 13 cm by 10.

Stephanie Claude

“If we want to protect the wolf, we must protect the breeders”

“If we don’t all think together, it won’t work”, insists Éric Guttierrez. As a transhumant shepherd, he was able to observe the tensions generated by the reimplantation of the bear in the Pyrenees. “The challenge is the survival of extensive farming in the Double. »

A diagnosis of herd vulnerability has been launched. Éric Guttierrez has already adopted the patous to watch over his 300 ewes. “My cattle breeder colleagues have also started to change their habits, for example by having the cows calve as close as possible to them,” he explains. Not going to see your animals at the same time every day can also be a good way to disturb the predator.

Doubleaud breeders are trained, for example, on the issue of electric fences. “To be effective, they must not leave more than 20 cm of space on the ground, and be at least 1.20 m high. We must measure at least 1,000 volts on the tensiometer for a predator to feel sufficient pain, ”explains the president of Civam.

“The wolf must fear man, he must avoid us,” he continues. At his side, Hadrien Raggenbass invites breeders to “be intransigent”: “All predators have a concept of reprisals. Even if it means considering a lethal, strictly controlled response: “My main objective is to protect the wolf. You have to be ready to eliminate a problematic individual: to do that is to save others. »

(1) Antoine Nochy had published in 2018 “The Beast that ate the world”, at Arthaud.

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