REWILDING Carnivores ‘The public must understand that rewilding efforts will see more natural dispersion, and populations will grow’ designation of ‘coexistence corridors’ will drive down bear mortality. Twenty-one electric fences have been installed; bear-proof organic-waste bins have been provided; and 90 per cent of local farms have been secured from bear access. Subsequently, between 2015 and 2017, Rewilding Europe recorded a 98 per cent reduction in bear incidents in the region. For Mario Cipollone, leader of the Central Apennines rewilding team, prevention trumps reparation. ‘We want bear and wolf populations to grow in the Central Apennines, so we’re proactively working with local people to prevent damage,’ he says. ‘We can smooth out this divide between communities and conservationists, and in turn build coexistence with carnivores.’ Some of these coexistence strategies aren’t new, but simply rekindle age-old traditions of living with carnivores. Shepherds in Portugal’s Greater Côa Valley can now expect to receive ‘guard-dog’ puppies as part of the LIFE WolFlux project. The Serra da Estrela dogs are integrated into sheep flocks to protect them from wolves – a tradition lost with the decline of wolf populations through the mid-20th century. 40 . Geographical
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