The Walloon government is providing shepherds with electric fences to protect sheep against wolf attacks, according to Belgian publication RTL Info.
In Nassogne, in the province of Luxembourg, one farmer has just installed 1,200 metres of electric fences around her meadow to protect her sheep from wolves. Just a few days prior, a wolf broke into her land and killed 26 of her 300 sheep.
2021 was marked as the “definitive comeback of the wolf” by the Flemish info centre for agriculture and horticulture (VILT). Conservationists helped to revive rapidly depleting packs of the predators, much to the dismay of local farms, who took to the streets in Limburg to protest the initiative.
Attacks against livestock have been on the up across the country. In Flanders alone, fatal attacks rose from 51 in 2019 to over 100 in 2021.
According to the farmer, much of her flock is now traumatised following the wolf attack and refuses to leave their sheds.
In a similar incident in the same area on 21 May, wolves killed 18 sheep despite the presence of anti-wolf measures, namely foxlights, which use flashing lives to scare off animals.
In order to avoid repeated attacks, the public service of Wallonia is loaning electric fencers to shepherds in order to protect their flocks. To be eligible, shepherds must demonstrate that a wolf is present in their local area. Any killed sheep are reimbursed by the regional government.
“There are fence posts on which we will install electric cables to prevent the wolf from going over or under,” the shepherdess told RTL Info.
Electric fences must be regularly maintained to maintain their effectiveness. If weeds or vegetation grows over electric wires, the fence will stop working, and animals risk being killed.
Undoubtedly, this high maintenance will still be a welcome solution to farmers who are hoping to reduce the frequency of attacks on their flocks.