Wolves in western Europe

Photo by Stefano Ronchi  http://www.stefanoronchi.com

Wolves in western Europe

Wolves are big predators and therefore of interest, but there is no denial of the potential conflicts with wolves. Wolf attacks on livestock are a main topic as they expand from Germany and Slovenia, France and Italy in and to western Europe. Moreover shyness does not seem to apply to these newly expanding wolves, as they are active during the day and cross straight through villages. For livestock, it proves difficult to predict wolf attacks, but once locally started, wolf attacks can increase dramatically. Nevertheless there are also wolf packs that are not interested in livestock as prey. Wolf attacks often do not relate to the abundance of prey, but rather link to their local adaptive learning. Here is where CABWIM has his added value and expertise to teach wolves not to kill  livestock.


In addition wolves should not orient themselves towards human settlements and maintain a natural orientation. CABWIM helpt gemeentes de burgers voor te lichten om te voorkomen dat wolven binnen de bebouwde kom een overlast of gevaar gaan vormen. CABWIM helps municipalities to educate citizens to prevent the western wolves from becoming a nuisance or danger. For the sake of humans, wolves and coexistence.

A lamb in stress, just surviving a wolf attack. The attacking wolf did kill 11 other sheep of the herd. 

The inability to predict and properly prevent attacks fuels opposition to protection of large predators such as wolves and bears. Much therefore depends on the development of proper tools to predict and prevent attacks and to educate about how to act to prevent encounters with large predators. 

CABWIM and specialists of the Department for Animal Science at the Biotechnical faculty of the university of Ljubljana and Noah school in Slovenia, and Scotland’s Rural College have researched wolf attack prevention in relation to the farm practises. This research has been scientifically published.  We thank the Dutch province of Limburg as well as the German foundation Euronatur for supporting the mentioned research.

With the Youtube video below I explain that we need to change our image about wolves and that the orientation of the western wolf needs to be adjusted, so that coexistence becomes possible.

Current methods do not work

The published investigation showed that recommended measures such as electric fences and guard dogs did not work in practice. Sheep farmers who first experienced a wolf attack and installed electric fence around the herd had to deal with up to 4 wolf attacks per year within 3 years. The electric fence seems rather to exacerbate the situation. The so-called “surplus killing” is actually promoted. Particularly stressful for the sheep, but for the wolves the fenced sheep provide a ball. 

Translated to the western European situation, it is clear that the sheep farming industry is not prepared at all for the arrival of wolves. New methods are badly needed for the protection of wolves and cattle.

Development of new methods. 

CABWIM and scientists from the zootechnical department of the University of Ljubljana and the Slovenian Noetova Sola are therefore developing new methods against wolf nuisance and for coexistence with wolves. Or to prevent wolves from putting sheep on the menu. Indeed we already have a prototype that is sheep-friendly and currenty needs testing for its effects on wolves: are we able to teach the local wolf to stop killing sheep. Once we have found financial support to test this, we can continue the development. In addition we have several other new ideas that can work also.