In order to support the breeders and the shepherds following the return of wolves, measures were implemented to reduce as much as possible the impact of the predator on the ovine and caprine domestic livestock and make some coexistence with pastoralism possible.
After having been paid for by the Mercantour National Park, two successive European "LIFE" programmes allowed to set up and test these measures, co-financed by the European Union and the Ministries in charge of the environment and of agriculture. Since 2004, the Ministry of Agriculture has supported the financing of protection measures, with the aid of the European Union.
These measures of protection result from means that were widely used in France and elsewhere before the extinction of great predators, in a different context however from that of nowadays on the technical, economic and social levels. The progresses notably in terms of working conditions require an important work of adaptation.
The three main measures are herding, the nocturnal gathering of herds, if possible in pens and the presence of protection dogs.
Even though they are efficient against predation, they nevertheless impose a set of restraints
that make pastoral management more difficult, with certain consequences on the three mainstays of the pastoral system : good state of the herd, good state of the mountain, working conditions of the shepherds. The return to a balanced pastoral management then occurs through the restoration or the creation of pastoral facilities such as the shepherds’ cabins apt to welcome two persons, the access trails or the rainwater tanks. The goal of these facilities is to recover good working conditions for the breeders and the shepherds.
On a technical level, the implementation of protective measures is constantly evolving. Reflexions are being led to optimize their implementation in the areas of mountain summer pasture for which they were designed but also to adapt them to other breeding systems, notably in the highlands or even in the plains.
In some cases, the implementation of protection means is not possible, or does not allow to reduce the attacks by wolves enough. The dispensatory system planned by the international and European commitment of France can be used to allow the killing of a wolf.
- CERPAM Report: wolves and predation (1997): Report on wolves, predation on herds and protective measures. The presence of wolves raises a true problem for the extensive ovine breeding and the current protection measures are not optimized