This action also shows the importance of having a local contact – in this case Slovak Wildlife Society biologist Robin Rigg – in the community so that relationships can be built with local people and they know who to ask for help and advice, rather than having to try and navigate their way through remote and faceless government departments or international conservation organisations. This also means that preventive measures can be installed correctly on site, training in correct use provided and monitoring carried out.
White Dog Fund - sharing the load
The White Dog Fund aims to provide people in rural areas who bear the real cost of co-existing with wolves, brown bears and lynx with prompt and practical assistance to resolve conflicts; a positive alternative to killing predators. The Fund gives everyone, whether you live in a city or in the countryside, the opportunity to share responsibility for conservation of these species by supporting the people most affected by their presence.
The name White Dog comes from an old Slovak folk tale about a livestock guarding dog named Bodrík (click here to read the story). Many traditional livestock guarding dog breeds, including the Slovenský čuvač and Polish Podhalanski, are white, possibly so that they blend in with sheep better and are more easily distinguished from predators by both sheep and shepherd, so the white dog seems an appropriate symbol for our aims.
The goals of the fund are:
- To reduce conflicts between large carnivores and people.
- To prevent large carnivores being unnecessarily killed.
- To increase tolerance for large carnivores among rural populations.
How will the Fund work?
- A livestock or property owner who has suffered damage or is worried about damage contacts or is referred to SWS.
- An SWS representative visits the site to carry out an assessment and make recommendations for protective measures if appropriate.
- Protective measures are implemented and training provided by SWS fieldworkers and volunteers, and paid for by the Fund
- Monitoring is carried out and if both sides are satisfied with the results after a trial period, then the livestock or property owner will be offered the chance to buy the materials at 50% of cost, and the revenue will be returned to the Fund.
A Fund for reintroduction...?
It is hoped the White Dog Fund will expand to other countries with populations of wolves, bears and lynx, and eventually there is the exciting prospect that the Fund will provide a way for the YOU to share the responsibility for reintroduction of wolves and lynx to the UK, by funding compensation for losses and implementing measures to reduce conflicts between returning carnivores and landowners and farmers.
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