icon
Auto Translate

Feature story

Arrival of the wolf - simple tools, maximum efficiency

Overview

My name is Mr. István Haluska. I'm a hunter, sheep breeder and a forester. Between the mountains of Zemplén there is a little village named Komlóska, whose mountain pastures I use to feed my flock. Recently, wolf observations became more frequent in my area so I decided to take action.


Story by

István Haluska

Occupation

Livestock breeding

Location

Komlóska

Province

Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Hungary


Chapter 1

starting point

There are three large carnivores living in Hungary: the bear, lynx and the wolf. Wolves are reproducing in the country although not in many places. One of these locations is the Zemplén mountains. At this point, the new visitors only rarely cause problems for livestock keepers. That being said, maintaining a strong prevention system is very important to keep the situation this way.

WWF Hungary
Aggteleki Nemzeti Park

Chapter 2

approach

My little farm under the Mountain Nagy-Papaj with a 4-hectare pasture provides an appropriate place for sheep outside of the grazing period. Security is guaranteed by my two really loyal, brave and die-hard “kuvasz” breed dogs. They constantly patrol up and down as sentinels, they “leave their signs” at the fence and in addition they always greet me with the warmest love, especially during their morning mealtime.

However, on one grim, snowy morning this warm reception had changed. When I arrived with my jeep as usual, the two dogs were not waiting for me and stamping around. Instead, they ran towards me from the mountain-side grass, answering my whistle. I did not pay much attention to this. I thought there must have been a stray dog or something on the other side of the electric fence.

During feeding my dogs always stay next to me, waiting for me to finish my work, and then leave to do their own duties. This time they had not even consumed their food properly when they started running back towards Nagy-Papaj, the mountain. The next time they greeted me with the same behaviour. They waited a little during feeding and then headed back, while looking back at me as if they were thinking “Come on!”. After I had finished feeding I went after them.

When I arrived at the edge of the electric fence I spotted that the snow, which was almost 20 cm deep, was nearly compacted to the ground in a 200 m section. I kept on investigating. To my great surprise I found huge marks on the other side of the fence in the same passage. They were wolf tracks as the National Park confirmed.

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.

IMG_5612_1.jpg

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

As far as I know this was their first meeting with wolves - and in my opinion the “boys” passed their exam with an A+. Compliments to Béla Komlósi, breeder of this authentic, native Hungarian dog breed and to the Kuvasz-Guard Large Carnivore Conservation Programme for providing me with the dogs. My case proves that this breed is suitable and able to maintain security when faced with large carnivores.

1/2

Submit story

Would you like to contribute a story?

Let us know!

Recommended articles

Arrival of the wolf - simple tools, maximum efficiency

icon

    Please select the province you live in.

    This will allow us to show you information specific for your county.