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The spatial distribution and temporal trends of livestock damages caused by wolves in Europe


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  • 21.04.2023
Published in:
  • Biological Conservation. - Elsevier BV. - 2023, vol. 282, p. 110039
English Wolf populations are recovering and expanding across Europe, causing conflicts with livestock owners. Here we compiled incident-based livestock damage data across 21 countries for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020, during which 39,262 wolf-caused incidents were reported from 470 administrative regions. We found substantial regional variation in all aspects of the data, including the primary target species, the density of damages, their seasonal distribution, and their temporal trend. More than half of the variation in damage densities across re­gions was explained by the area of extensively cultivated habitats occupied by wolves, namely natural grasslands
and broad-leaved forests. Regional variation in husbandry practices and damage prevention, while difficult to quantify at a continental scale, appear important factors to further modulate these incidents. As illustrated with detailed data from Germany, a relationship between the number of wolf units and damages diminished over time, suggesting some adaptation of livestock owners and local authorities to their presence, for example by increasing prevention efforts. As we argue, temporal trends of damage incidents, which are robust to variation in data collection across regions, are thus informative about the local intensity of the wolf-human conflict. We estimated increasing trends for the majority of regions, reflecting the current expansion of wolves across the continent. Nonetheless, many of these increases were moderate and for more than one third of all regions, trends were negative despite growing wolf populations, thus indicating that wolf-livestock conflicts can be successfully mitigated with proper management.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Biologie
  • English
Biological sciences
Open access status
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