This January (21-23) a researcher of the Family Dog Project, Dorottya Júlia Ujfalussy had the pleasure to give an invited talk at the International Conference of Livestock protection, organized by WWF, Agridea and LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores in Salzburg, Austria. We were very happy that the organizers found it important to invite a talk on learning of wolves at a conference promoting coexistence. The return of large carnivores to their original habitats after many years of being exterminated by humans is a very controversial issue. On one hand, the repopulation will directly and indirectly increase biodiversity, creating a much more stable and resilient habitat structure. On the other hand, however, the use of natural habitats (even national parks and other protected areas) by agriculture is extensive, and possible damage caused by large carnivores is not at all welcome. The conference mainly focused on what measures may and can be taken to keep this damage to a minimum. We have learned a lot about fences, the great job of wonderful livestock guarding dogs, EU funding for protective measures and compensations. As wolves are protected by EU nature protection laws, traditionally wolf presence is considered as a “mandatory burden” by landowners, so we were particularly pleased that both organizers and audience were very interested in the possibility of altering resident wolves behaviour using their learning capacities, their territoriality and the social transmission of learned information.
We would like to thank the conference organizers for the invitation and all participants for their interest in canine cognition, many questions, great networking and the lots of positive feedback!
Photos Copyright (c)WWF