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Feature story

Romanian Carpathian Shepherd dogs - the best protection for Carpathian livestock

Overview

The Alboni family from Bucova village, western Romania, has a long tradition of “ciobănit” (sheep herding, producing and selling cheese), passed from father to son. Few years ago they were donated an electric fence system and a pair of Romanian Carpathian Shepherd dogs to test the efficiency of these prevention measures against large carnivores attacks. 


Story by

Cosmin Alboni

Occupation

Livestock raising

Location

Bucova

Province

Caras-Severin, Romania


Chapter 1

starting point

Livestock owners from Bucova village (Caraș-Severin County) lose around 15-20 sheep to bears and wolves every year, because
there were only a few prevention measures implemented. The compensation system is far to be efficient, and usually the
locals don’t take the long and time consuming process to recover the damages inflicted by large carnivores.

Chapter 2

approach

A few years ago a new project started in the area to promote measures to prevent human-large carnivore conflicts. In this project the brothers Alin and Cosmin Alboni received a system of electric fences and a pair of Romanian Carpathian Shepherd dog as a donation from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the Zarand Association.This breed has impressive native characteristics that make it the most effective guarding measure for the sheep flocks.


Since we have Doru and Prada, we haven’t lost a single
sheep. This is 100% protection for our animals, which is a great achievement

says Alin Alboni, proudly wearing his traditional long sheep wool coat.
 

Flora & Fauna International in Romania
Zarand Association
Romanian Carpathian Shepherd Dog Club

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Unlike other dogs, these will not bark unless their fine sense of smell spots the presence of a wild animal that might represent a threat to the flock. At that moment, they immediately dash off to directly confront the bear or wolf.

It’s very important to keep this breed exactly as it developed itself over the years in the company of Romanian shepherds. Breeding will harness these characteristics instilled over the millennia

explained Radu Luca Popa, a local ranger working for FFI. Not only did his furry companions reduce livestock losses, but they provided a precious offspring - a pure breed Romanian Carpathian Shepherd pup. The market value of Iancu - the young shy and fluffy pup - is around 300 Euros. As a result of the good care of the dogs, the Alboni family got a certificate for opening an authorized kennel. Now they can reduce their costs by selling puppies to other shepherds.

Livestock Guarding Dogs

Livestock guarding dogs defend the herd against attacks by wolves. They feel like part of the herd and settle down with the pet owner.  The dogs live permanently outside and defend "their" herd against all intruders from the outside. Well-trained livestock protection dogs are no danger to walkers and hikers, but these should lead their dogs on a leash. To make this work, well trained herd protection dogs are required, which are adapted to the type of grazing by the livestock. This requires regular checks made by experienced people so that the dogs do not start to behave incorrectly.

Romanian Carpathian Shepherd dog

Romanian Carpathian Shepherd dog

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Report your experience with this tool

Beatrice Jouenne

24.08.2018

The project "Pôle Grands Prédateurs" aims to support sheep breeders whose herds are victims of lynx attacks. An important step of the project is to learn breeders the educational protocol of dogs. During this project, we developed a protection tool: the multi-herd guarding dog. We educated a dog in order to place him in one season after another with different farmers whose herds were attacked. This dog was immediately effective and stopped lynx damage. After this test, the Pôle Grands Prédateurs proposed to breeders to take one or two puppies to replace him. In this context, breeders had the experience of a livestock guarding dog, knew the benefits, and could better apprehend the arrival of a new dog on their farms. Since 2015, the Pôle Grands Prédateurs is no longer a breeding pole for livestock guarding dogs. The association continues its action of support to the sheep breeders by being a platform of discussions and putting in relation breeders who look for dogs and breeders who have puppies to place. We also take in charge directly pups placement. Besides, we organized a lot of communication actions around the theme of “livestock guarding dog as a tool of prevention against lynx predation”. Please reply to this post for more information, reach out directly to Jean-Marc Landry or go to our website: www.polegrandspredateurs.org

Beatrice Jouenne

24.08.2018

Studies of the wolf – livestock guarding dog interactions are a source of consistent data that brings new perspectives on the relationships and interactions that occur in herds, their immediate vicinity and their extended periphery. The Canovis project is a possible response to major challenges that aim to significantly improve the coexistence between extensive livestock (sheep, goats, cattle) and wolves. Thanks to scientific research, the project designs and develops concrete and adapted solutions. The discoveries we made during the first 5 years of the project are major. Our results are in the process of completely revolutionizing the knowledge of the eco-ethology of the wolf in pastoral system. Unfortunately, our financial resources are limited and this is our major difficulty to continue the project. Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Gilles Moyones.

Beatrice Jouenne

25.08.2018

Farmers and predators is a format that AlmoNature is trying to spread in both Italy and Europe. This was a non-binding measure implemented by AlmoNature in the frame of Farmers and predators in a province in the mainly Liguria Region. It specifically involved Farmers. It operated for 1 years (from 2016 to 2017) and received partial financial support from Private donors.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Haluska István, Patkó László.

Chapter 3

outlook

There is still lots of work to do when it comes to preventing large carnivore attacks on livestock in the region. But the demonstrative project of FFI and Zarand Association created good examples that can be followed by other shepherds and established a base for further projects. Their efforts will be continued in the area by WWF Romania, as a partner in the LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores project. Electric fences systems and pairs of Romanian Carpathian Shepherd Dogs will be donated to other livestock owners as well, to measure the efficiency of these prevention tools.

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Romanian Carpathian Shepherd dogs - the best protection for Carpathian livestock

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