Thuringia: Help for sheep farmers to protect against wolves improved

They've been back in Thuringia for a few years - wolves.

Thuringia: Help for sheep farmers to protect against wolves improved

They've been back in Thuringia for a few years - wolves. Their number is very clear; six are considered site-loyal. There is always trouble when the predators attack grazing animals.

Erfurt/Ohrdruf (dpa/th) - Thuringia's grazing livestock farmers can now use more government funding to protect their herds from wolf attacks. A spokesman for the Ministry of the Environment in Erfurt said that a new funding guideline has been in force in the Free State since this week. This is intended to avoid possible economic burdens for shepherds and other livestock farmers and to prevent attacks by wolves or lynx on their livestock.

According to information from conservationists and the ministry, there are currently around six wolves in Thuringia who are loyal to their location and one "border crosser" between Lower Saxony and Thuringia in the Harz Mountains.

All previous funding options, including for the purchase of fences and protection dogs, remain in place, new ones such as financial aid for the maintenance of the fences would be added, said Environment Minister Anja Siegesmund (Greens). It is about prevention, but also about compensation in the event of damage.

This is possible because the EU has now notified additional funding points under state aid law. "It is important that we can now support the shepherds even better. We need the farms in our cultural landscape." Your animals are "conservationists on four legs," said Siegesmund.

Funding could now also be provided for the work involved in erecting or maintaining fences to protect sheep and goats. Up to 1230 euros per fence kilometer and year are possible. Also new is a possible financial support for the training of people who work with herd guard dogs.

In addition, up to 1920 euros per dog could be subsidized annually as maintenance costs. There could also be help for fixed night pens for the grazing animals. The basic requirement for state funds is that the areas are grazed for reasons of environmental protection. Applications could be made to the State Office for the Environment, Mining and Nature Conservation.

According to the ministry, around 132,500 euros were made available from the state treasury in Thuringia last year for protective measures for grazing animals. The amount corresponds roughly to that of 2020. The return of the wolves, which are under nature protection, has also led to discussions in Thuringia, mainly because there was at times a she-wolf at the military training area in Ohrdruf, which had often fatally attacked grazing animals. In the meantime, almost no more wolf tears are known.

According to current information from experts, three wolves live in the Ohrdruf territory. In the Zella/Rhön region, a she-wolf is considered sedentary. There is also a pair of wolves in the Ilfeld region in the southern Harz region. A she-wolf from Braunlage (Lower Saxony) seems to commute to Thuringia - she has been genetically proven several times.

Wolves are strictly protected in Germany and can only be hunted in exceptional cases. Individual animals have been native to Thuringia again since 2014.

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