The wolf in the Alps: a unique population, a single population
The population of the Alpine border wolf was considered a single distinct entity in the ‘Guidelines for the Management Plans for Large Carnivores Level of Population’ signed by the European Commission in 2008 and as such should be monitored and managed beyond national borders. In addition, the effective management of the Alpine population of wolves involves assessment of Favourable Conservation Status (FCS) of the entire population, as required by the Habitats Directive. A commitment that requires an enormous amount of coordination over the whole of the Alps, which until now has been lacking. It is precisely this lack of coordination on a supranational scale that has limited the effectiveness of wolf conservation actions so far and the prevention of impact on economic activities by this predator.
A model for fragmented management
When we speak of the Alps, we refer to a highly fragmented political landscape in flux, with a high level of administrative and institutional fragmentation, especially in Italy, where the management of environmental issues is delegated, as appropriate, at regional level, to provinces or protected areas. It is this fragmented management model which is the obstacle to be overcome if an effective management of human-wildlife coexistence, that reconciles conservation and human activities in the mountains is to be attained.
LIFE WOLFALPS is coordination
Actions (A1, A2, A3, A5, A12, E9, F1, F2, F3)
The key breakthrough and innovation in LIFE WOLFALPS is to put in place, for the first time, a conservation program coordinated and shared by all Alpine regions affected by the return of the wolf, which is designed to last beyond the project.
In practice, coordination means:
– Establishment of national and international coordination groups for the first time to define common approaches and standards, this is the only way to minimize the conflicts caused by the presence of the wolf (A1, A2);
– Training technical personnel with knowledge transfer from West to East of the Alps to learn and put into practice the same techniques to monitor wolves and fight poaching from the Ligurian Apennines to the Dinaric Alps (A3, A5);
– Monitoring and coordinated conservation of the wolf population over the Alps (A2, A3, A4, D1);
– Workshops for the management of the wolf population in the Alps shared among the various agencies and interest groups (E9);
– Joint communication strategy (A12).