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The isolated wolf population south of the Douro river: status and action priorities for its recovery

The magazine of The UK Wolf Conservation Trust, published quarterly
Issue 20 Summer 2004
Special edition on Portugal
Published by:
The UK Wolf Conservation Trust
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Reading RG7 5NT
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Denise Taylor
Tel: 01788 832658
Editorial Team
Julia Bohanna,Andrew Matthews,
Gwynne Power,Sue Sefscik
Contributors to this issue:
Francisco Alvares, Clara Espirito-Santo, Clara Grilo,
Pedro Primavera, Francisco Petrucci-Fonesca,
Helena Rio-Maior, Silvia Ribeiro, Sara Roque,
Design Team: Phil Dee Tel: 01788 546565
Stephania Balbo, Paul Swainson
Desmond Morris
Erich Klinghammer
Christoph Promberger
The UK Wolf Conservation Trust Directors
Nigel Bulmer
Charles Hicks
Tsa Palmer
Denise Taylor
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Welcome to a special themed edition of Wolf Print, focusing on the Iberian
wolf (Canis lupus signatus) in Portugal.
Five articles give an insight into how the Iberian wolf has fared historically, and what
work is now being done to help secure the wolves’ future survival. Livestock guarding
dogs (LGDs) are increasingly becoming one of the main methods used to help prevent
livestock depredation. Interestingly, this seems to a more accepted practice in
countries where wolf populations have never been totally eradicated, and where LGDs
are now enjoying a renaissance themselves.
Grupo Lobo is an NGO (non-governmental organisation) working for the conservation
of wolves in Portugal by providing scientific research and education, as well as a wolf
centre that homes captive wolves. Visit their website for further information. Details
can be found on page 6. Our thanks to Grupo Lobo for helping to co-ordinate this
special issue of Wolf Print.
Our apologies for Wolves of the World being a much-shortened version in this issue.
We wanted to present the different aspects of wolf conservation Portugal, which has
led to some space constraints. We have, therefore, only managed to include three
reports from France, Switzerland and an interesting little piece from Japan, which we
wanted to include following on from the report on wolves in China and Japan in the
last issue (No. 19).
It would seem that wolves in Italy should be very wary of crossing political boundaries.
Migration into France and Switzerland has led to protests from sheep farmers in both
countries, and in turn this has led to wolves being culled following livestock
depredation. Dealing with such conflict situations is one of the biggest challenges that
wolf conservationists face. The problems have been exacerbated due to farmers in
these countries not having had experience of large carnivores preying on their
livestock. Animal husbandry has been adapted to this, with sheep being able to roam
more freely, with very little protection. This raises lots of issues and challenges for both
wolf conservation advocates and opponents. But one thing remains clear. Wolves may
be culled to alleviate problems in the short term, but as a protected species they are
here to stay.
For further details visit the Trust’s website at or contact the
Admin Office on 44 (0) 118 971 3330, email –
Status and Conservation of the Iberian
Wolf in Portugal
Human Dimensions in Iberian Wolf
Management in Portugal
The Wolf in Rural Communities' Culture
in the North of Portugal
Inside this issue... The Isolated Wolf Population South
of the Douro River: Status and
action priorities for its recovery
Recovering the use of Livestock
Guarding Dogs to Protect the
Iberian Wolf in Portugal
Wolves of the World
Status and Conservation of the Iberian Wolf in Portugal
Status and Conservation
of the
Iberian Wolf
in Portugal
by Francisco Álvares
Figure 1 – Trends in wolf distribution in the Iberian Peninsula
(Adapted from Grande del Brio,1984; Blanco et al., 1990;Petrucci-Fonseca,1990; ICN, 1997)
Photo: Francisco Álvares
Figure 2 – Trends in wolf distribution in Portugal
(Adapted from Petrucci-Fonseca,1990; ICN, 1997;Petrucci-Fonseca & Álvares, 1997)
In Portugal there is a subspecies of grey wolf
that is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula
(Portugal and Spain), the Iberian wolf (Canis
lupus signatus, Cabrera 1907). This
subspecies is slightly smaller than northern
wolves. On average, an adult is 140cm from
nose to tail tip, is 70-80cm tall and has a
weight of 35-55kg.
In the early 20th century, the Iberian wolf
occurred in almost the whole area of the
Iberian Peninsula. In that period, wolf
distribution started to decrease due to
human persecution, with wolves disappearing
from east to west and from south to north
of the Peninsula (Figure 1). Today, Iberian
wolves only occupy northwest Iberia and a
small isolated area in southern Spain, in
Andalucia’s Sierra Morena Oriental
(Figure 1). Iberian wolves were still present
across Portugal in the 1930s, occurring on
coastlands and near Lisbon (Figure 2).
However, in the middle 20th century an
alarming regression of wolf distribution
started to occur mainly due to a ferocious
direct persecution and major habitat changes
particularly in forest cover and prey
availability (Figure 2).
In Portugal, specific legislation has fully
protected wolves since the 1990s. This law
forbids wolf capture or killing, habitat
destruction and disturbance of wolves, mainly
during the breeding season and includes
a wolf damage compensation programme.
In addition, the Iberian wolf is listed
as “Endangered” in the Portuguese Red
Data Book.
According to the first national wolf census,
conducted in 1994-1996 (ICN, 1997), the
Portuguese wolf population occupied an area
of 18,000km2 which represented about 20%
of the original distribution area.At that time,
the estimate corresponded to approximately
300 wolves (about 55-60 packs) in Portugal.
A new national wolf census was conducted
between 2002 and 2003, and although the
results are not fully analysed, it seems that
wolf population status and distribution are
similar to the ones obtained in the middle
1990s; however, unstable wolf nuclei were
Status and Conservation of the Iberian Wolf in Portugal 5
Figure 3 – Ecological features in different regions of the Portuguese wolf population
(density,main prey and most frequent non-natural death causes)
Photo: Francisco Álvares
localized in some marginal and humanised
areas (Grupo Lobo/ICN, unpublished data).
Currently, wolves survive mainly in the
mountainous regions of north and central
Portugal which have a low human population
density and an important agricultural and
husbandry industry (Figure 3).
The main and more stable wolf nuclei are
located in Peneda-Gerês National Park (NW
Portugal), Montesinho Natural Park (NE
Portugal) and Alvão Natural Park (central
North Portugal).These three wolf nuclei are a
regular source of dispersing animals due to
their reproductive stability.These regions thus
have a strong influence in maintaining wolf
packs in the more unstable surrounding areas.
Wolf distribution area in Portugal is not
continuous, because there are two
populations divided by the Douro river. The
population in the north shows stability and is
contiguous with the Spanish wolf population,
while the small and isolated population in the
south, shows a high degree of fragmentation
and faces a danger of extinction.
In spite of the reduced wolf range in Portugal,
this carnivore shows a wide ecological
diversity, which is a reflection of diverse
habitat conditions and wolf high adaptability
(Figure 3). In the rough mountains of NW
Portugal (Peneda-Gerês National Park), the
wolf feeds mainly on free ranging horses and
cattle (almost 50% of wolf diet) and on goats
(37% of wolf diet), which leads this region to
have the highest values of economic damage
due to wolf predation in Portugal. This fact
generates a huge conflict between man and
wolf, which results in high illegal persecution
mainly through poisoning (15% of known
mortality) and shooting (32% of known
mortality). Nevertheless, this wolf nucleus
reaches high densities (with pack size up
to 15 wolves), only possible due to the
reduced humanization of habitat and to high
prey availability.
In NE Portugal (east region of Montesinho
Natural Park) there is a high density of wild
ungulates (roe deer, red deer and wild boar)
that represents the wolf's main prey (around
70% of the diet). Consequently, this wolf
nucleus does not suffer from an evident direct
persecution by man,allowing wolf densities to
be high.
The region of Alvão mountains represents
an intermediate situation, where wolves feed
mainly on the two most common ungulates in
the area: goats (constituting 70% of wolf diet)
and wild boar (15% of wolf diet). South of the
Douro River wolves show a similar ecological
behaviour, although they frequently feed on
carrion and garbage dumps. The wolf
ecological features in these two Portuguese
regions reflect the ecology of the majority of
the Iberian wolf population, and across the
whole of southern Europe. Wolves surviving
in humanised areas occur in median and low
densities. They take advantage of the
availability of food due to human proximity,
but pay a high price by suffering a significant
non-natural mortality. Wolves living in such
conditions are in a precarious balance, and
can be threatened by growing habitat
deterioration and fragmentation.
The present critical situation of the Iberian
wolf in Portugal and the regression that this
species has been facing during the last
decades are due to direct or indirect human
causes. Today, the main threats that the wolf
faces in Portugal are scarcity of wild prey
(red deer and roe deer),habitat deterioration
due to forest fires and human incursion,
and habitat fragmentation due to the
proliferation of barriers to wolf movements
(such as dams and highways).The existence of
high numbers of feral and stray dogs also
represents a problem to wolf conservation
because these dogs often produce livestock
damages that are mistakenly attributed to
wolves by farmers. For those reasons wolf
conservation measures in Portugal should
ensure the minimisation of the economic
impact of wolf damage, habitat improvement
and educational campaigns.
Currently, several research studies and
conservation measures regarding wolves are
being conducted in Portugal. The Nature
Conservation Institute (ICN) is the
governmental institution responsible for wolf
conservation and management in Portugal. It
has been ensuring and improving wolf
legislation (namely the damage compensation
Status and Conservation of the Iberian Wolf in Portugal
Grupo Lobo is an independent and non-profit association that was founded in
1985 to work on Wolf Conservation and its habitat in Portugal. In 1987,Grupo
Lobo started the Signatus Project – A Strategy for Wolf Conservation in
Portugal, which operates on two levels. For the first one, focused on
developing an educational campaign, Grupo Lobo has a large collection of
pamphlets, newspaper articles, movies, photographs, CDs and also a travelling
exhibition, which is available for anyone interested in learning about wolves.
Whenever asked Grupo Lobo gives talks to different groups: students,
hunters, livestock owners, etc.
The second level aims at scientific research employing a number of
strategies: monitoring wolf populations (distribution and census), ecological
studies involving radio-tracking programmes, ecological modelling to identify
suitable habitats for wolf conservation and to define reintroduction areas for
wild preys,genetics,parasitology,recovering traditional livestock guarding dogs
use, conducting human dimensions research and understanding the cultural
relationship between humans and wolves.
Grupo Lobo is also responsible for managing the Iberian Wolf
Recovery Centre (IWRC), where disabled/wounded wolves,or wolves kept in
deficient captivity conditions, are cared for and studied. The IWRC runs an
international voluntary programme and a wolf adoption programme for
anyone interested in wolf conservation. Contact: ;
Photo: Francisco Álvares
Photo: Rui Vasco
system) and has been managing habitat for
wolf conservation mostly inside protected
areas (which compromises 30% of national
wolf range). ICN has recently assured
measures to support damage prevention
(mainly through a livestock guarding dog
distribution programme in NE Portugal) and
has implemented a Dead Wolf Monitoring
System. This system was devised to
systematically register wolf death
occurrences nationally, to obtain a better
knowledge of wolf death causes and to
provide biological material for the
development of relevant scientific studies.
Grupo Lobo, on the other hand, has been
conducting intense educational and
awareness campaigns for wolf conservation
and has developed several lines of scientific
research on wolves as well as practical
conservation measures (see text box about
Grupo Lobo on page xx).The continuous wolf
monitoring started almost a decade ago in
some wolf nuclei and the two wolf national
censuses (in 1994-1996 and in 2002-2003)
have been carried out by both ICN and
Grupo Lobo.
Petrucci-Fonseca, (2000). A população lupina
portuguesa a sul do rio Douro. Galemys, 12
(NE): 113-122.
Álvares, F., PEREIRA, E. & F. Petrucci-Fonseca,
(2000). O lobo no Parque Internacional
Gerês-Xurês: situação populacional, aspectos
ecológicos e perpectivas de conservação.
Galemys, 12 (NE): 223-239.
Blanco,J. C.; Cuesta L.& S.Reig (1990). El lobo
(Canis lupus) en España. Situacion,
problematica y apuntes sobre su ecología.
ICONA, Colección Técnica, Madrid, 118 pp.
CARREIRA, R. & F. Petrucci-Fonseca, (2000).
O lobo na região oeste de Trás-os-Montes
(Portugal). Galemys, 12 (NE): 123-134.
Grande del Brio, R., (1984). El lobo ibérico,
biología y mitología. Serie Ciencias de la
Naturaleza. Ed. Hermann Blume. Madrid.
ICN (1997). Projecto Conservação do lobo
em Portugal. Program LIFE Final Report,
Instituto da Conservação da Natureza,
MOREIRA, L. (1998). O lobo no nordeste de
Trás-os-Montes. Património Natural
Transmontano. João Azevedo Editor.
Mirandela. 85pp.
Petrucci-Fonseca, F. (1990). O lobo (Canis
lupus signatus Cabrera, 1907) em Portugal.
Problemática da sua conservação. PhD Thesis.
Sciences Faculty of Lisbon Univessity. Lisboa.
392 pp.
Petrucci-Fonseca, F. & F. Álvares, (1997).
Evolução histórica da distribuição e análise da
situação actual do lobo na metade sul de
Portugal. Abstracts of “II Jornadas sobre el
Lobo mediterrâneo”, Sevilha (Spain): 20-21
Human Dimensions in Iberian Wolf Management in Portugal
Human Dimensions in
Iberian Wolf Management
in Portugal by Clara Espirito-Santo and Francisco Petrucci-Fonseca
Figure 1 – Wolves hunted in Portugal in the 1970s (photo F.Álvares/Grupo Lobo)
The integration of human dimensions (HD)
research into wildlife management started in
the late 1970s in North America and in the
1990s in Europe. In Portugal, HD research
emerged in the mid 1990s with some
occasional studies focused on wolf
management, particularly because of the
historical conflicts with livestock owners,
hunters and locals (Figure 1). As in many
countries around the world, wolf
management in Portugal tends to be more
socio-political in nature than biological.
Biologists have examined several aspects of
wolf biology in Portugal, but the human
component has not received the same
attention from wildlife researchers. Wolf
management involves not only an
understanding of the biology of the species
and its habitat, but also an understanding of
public attitudes and knowledge of the species,
and opinions about possible management
approaches. Public involvement into wildlife
management decision-making is still at an
early stage in Portugal. Decision-making is still
a top-down approach with no input of the
public's views, concerns or needs.
In order to understand the human
component in the wolf management process
in Portugal, the Grupo Lobo started two main
projects.The first study,started in 1994, was a
quantitative analysis of attitudes, beliefs, and
fear toward wolves among the general public,
and various interest groups at a national level.
A self-administered questionnaire containing
four sections covering attitudes, beliefs, and
fear toward wolves, and socio-demographic
data was mailed to the general public,
environmental NGOs, livestock owners,
hunters and journalists randomly selected
from the national population. In 1999, a
similar questionnaire was mailed to 100
schools from the 1st to the 12th grade (6-18
years-old), using different wording according
to the age of the respondents.
Data was collected from 6556 respondents:
272 from the general public, 262 from
environmental NGOs, 229 livestock owners,
693 hunters, 240 journalists, and 4860
students. The results show that attitudes
toward wolves were neutral to moderately
positive among all interest groups.
Environmentalists and students expressed the
most positive opinions followed by journalists
and hunters. Livestock owners and the
general public showed the least positive
opinions. Hunters and environmentalists had
the highest knowledge about wolves, and
livestock owners and the general public
scored the lowest from all respondents, but
scores were consistently low among all
groups. In general, more than half of the
questions on wolf biology were answered
incorrectly. Students, the general public and
livestock owners showed more fear of wolves
than the media, hunters or environmentalists.
When we analysed the relationship between
the three variables, results were similar in all
groups. Positive attitudes were associated
with higher knowledge about wolves. Fear
was negatively related with both knowledge
and attitude. People with a less positive
attitude and a lower knowledge score
expressed a stronger fear of the wolf. This
study also showed that adults and elderly with
low scholar education, living in rural areas
were more negative toward wolves than
young respondents with high scholar
education, living in urban centres. Overall,
the positive feelings expressed by
environmentalists and hunters might be a
result, respectively, of an easy access to
information and a direct contact with nature.
On the other hand, it was surprising the lack
of knowledge registered among journalists.All
interest groups could benefit from more
information about the wolf. The fact that
attitude and fear were strongly associated to
knowledge about wolves led us to believe
that, among the Portuguese population,
outdoor activities of environmental education
would have real positive effects on the
Iberian-wolf conservation.
The second study developed by Grupo Lobo
from 2001 to 2003 was the first quantitative
and qualitative study on HD in wolf
management in Portugal. It was focused on a
specific region in Central Portugal (South of
the Douro River) where a wolf small
population lives, isolated from the main
population in the North (see C. Grilo et al.,in
this issue). The main goal of this quantitative
research was to understand attitudes and
beliefs toward wolves and wolf management
in Portugal, to test whether these attitudes
and beliefs vary between interest groups and
across space, and to identify factors affecting
Figure 2 – Interviewing a shepherd about wolves, in Castelo Branco - Portugal (photo C. Espirito-Santo)
Human Dimensions in Iberian Wolf Management in Portugal
them. Data was collected through 1753
personal interviews (Figure 2) with 1209
respondents from the general public, 111
livestock owners, 105 hunters, and 328 high
school students, in three different zones:
Aveiro/Viseu (n=573), Guarda (n=590), and
Castelo Branco (n=590).These regions were
divided according to the administrative
boundaries of the counties and to a gradient
of wolf density: a relatively stable wolf
subpopulation lives in Aveiro/Viseu, wolves
occur irregularly in Guarda, and wolves
disappeared from Castelo Branco in the
1970s. Interviews were conducted using a
questionnaire with 68 items covering
attitudes, beliefs, experiences with wolves,
importance of wolf management issues, and
socio-demographic data.
The qualitative HD research aimed for an
understanding of the key issues and solutions
regarding wolf management at a regional and
national scale, the key roles of each interest
group, and who should be involved in the
decision-making in the perspective of each
group. Unstructured interviews were
conducted usually with members of the
executive board level of 31 interest groups:
livestock owners associations, hunting
associations, wolf biologists, environmental
NGOs, and members from ICN (the
governmental Institute for Nature
Conservation, responsible for payment of
wolf caused damage on livestock).
Results from the quantitative analyses show
that attitudes of the general public are not
homogeneous among all respondents. The
public splits in two main groups, one in each
extreme of the attitudinal spectrum. While
some interest groups like hunters, livestock
owners and students are close to a neutral
position in their opinions about wolves, the
general public either love or hate wolves.The
various interest groups have different
opinions regarding wolf management, but
although inter-group differences occur, intra-
group attitudes are in general homogeneous.
Overall, opinions toward wolf
management do not differ significantly
between regions. For example, wolves'
impact on small game species or wild
ungulate populations, like the roe deer or the
wild boar, is not an issue of concern among
surveyed hunters across the study area. In
terms of wolves' impact on livestock, all
interest groups strongly agree that wolves
feed primarily and cause abundant damage
on livestock.Although wolves take less than
1% of the available livestock inside the study
area (based on damage databases from ICN),
some villages have registered more than 300
wolf attacks in a five-year period (1997-
2001).The vast majority of the respondents
do not know the number of domestic
animals killed by wolves every year but still
believe that the impact of wolf predation is
very high. When people's tolerance toward
wolves is in question, it is the loss they
perceive, rather than the real loss that
influences public opinion toward the
predator. Actual damage is in general much
lower than perceived damage, also because
damage caused by feral dogs is often
attributed to wolves.However, if the public is
willing to discuss ways of dealing with wolf-
livestock problems and finding solutions to
address those issues then the stage for
human-wolf coexistence is set and managers
only have to work with the interest groups
toward finding the most appropriate
management measures.
Livestock owners are completely in favour
of a compensation system supported by the
government for damage caused by wolves.
Those living in wolf range think it is more
appropriate to pay compensation only to
those who make some effort in preventing
attacks from wolves. When the perceived
impact of wolves on livestock and wild prey
increases, there is higher agreement with
payment of compensations to livestock
owners, independently from the preventive
methods in use. Half of the general public
agree with money from taxes being used by
the government for compensation, but the
vast majority of the public thinks that the
government should help livestock owners in
implementing methods for preventing wolf
attacks on livestock like good guarding dogs
or electric fences. Involving various interest
groups, particularly livestock owners and
ICN in the discussion of compensation issues
is very important for proper management of
the wolf. Managers and the interest groups
should think whether compensation
mechanisms are a good approach for
minimizing conflicts and increasing tolerance,
and should evaluate the benefits and the
sustainability of such mechanisms on a
long term.
Knowledge levels about wolves vary
between the various groups, with hunters
being the most knowledgeable and students
the less knowledgeable. Regional differences
do not occur among livestock owners and
hunters' knowledge levels, but do occur
among students and respondents from the
general public. Students from Castelo Branco
score the lowest from all the respondents
probably because they have never lived in
contact with wolves.
Attitudes and knowledge about wolves are
correlated in some cases, mostly among
respondents from the general public. While
some respondents have positive attitudes
associated with some knowledge about
wolves, others have a good knowledge but
their opinions are negative. These
respondents are mainly elderly, living in rural
areas, who consider wolf management issues
to be very important, and want to keep up to
date on these issues. The relationship
between attitudes and knowledge depends
on the issue. Knowledge reduces fear toward
wolves and fear is negatively associated with
attitudes, which means that "fear" is an
important variable when analysing the
association between knowledge and
attitudes. Although knowledge about wolves
does not generally have a clear relationship
with attitudes, high levels of scholar
education seem to play a major role on
improving attitudes. These and other
socio-economic factors, like gender, age,
residence and occupation, or the kind of
experiences with wolves and the interest on
wolf management issues, have a strong
association with opinions about wolves and
wolf management.
Human Dimensions in Iberian Wolf Management in Portugal 9
Clara Espirito-Santo is currently
pursuing a M.A. in Human Dimensions
in Natural Resource Management, at
Memorial University of Newfoundland –
Canada.In 1998, she completed a 5-year
programme in Biology at the Faculty
of Sciences – University of Lisbon.
Her professional interests include
endangered species conservation
(particularly large carnivores), conflict
resolution in wildlife management and
public involvement on decision-making.
In 1999, she started working at
Grupo Lobo (Wolf Group in Portugal)
in various research projects aimed at
understanding public attitudes toward
wolves. She has been participating in
national and international workshops
and conferences focused on large
carnivore conservation. Contact:
The qualitative research allowed the
identification of many issues and solutions
around wolf management on the perspective
of each interest group.The groups identified a
wide range of issues covering agriculture and
livestock issues (e.g. abandonment of
agriculture; disappearance of traditional
husbandry methods), communication issues
(e.g. behavioural conflicts due to mistrust
between interest groups), biological issues
(e.g. lack of wild prey), legal and political
issues (e.g. Common Agricultural Policy
reform; ICN top-down approach for
managing wildlife), and cultural issues (e.g.
myths about captive wolves being released
into the wild; childhood stories). All groups
agreed that the abundance of feral dogs,
poaching, and lack of good habitat for wolves,
environmental education and biological data
are major key issues in wolf management.The
interest groups can see there are issues of
common concern and similar solutions to
address key issues.The interviews acted as a
means to open lines of communication and
allowed the opportunity to begin building
possible partners for future HD work and
discussion concerning wolf management.
Discussing issues of common concern to all
groups is a good starting point for a process
of conflict resolution.
The respondents do not only identify
issues and problems around wolf
management, but also come up with long lists
of solutions to address those issues and solve
the problems. The groups clearly recognise
the need to integrate other interest groups
and the local communities on the decision-
making. Besides the interest groups sampled
in this study,more than twenty other groups
were pointed out as important players on a
future debate.The Ministries of Environment
and Agriculture are given the highest number
of roles on wolf management,but the interest
groups always assume for themselves some
tasks to address wolf management issues.
The importance of this project and the
urgency of a joint work were recognized
by all respondents from the various
interest groups.
Successful management from a human
perspective largely rests on the ability to
listen to and incorporate differing interest
group values, attitudes, and beliefs in the
decision-making process, reaching consensus
and gaining public acceptance of the final
decision. Clearly, Portuguese wildlife
managers have to shift from a traditional top-
down to a bottom-up approach with a deep
process of public involvement from the early
stages of the decision-making. Wolf
management is, at its core, the management
of people, and if people are part of the
problem they must be part of the solution.
The Wolf in Rural
Communities' Culture in
the North of Portugal
by Francisco Álvares and Pedro Primavera
10 The Wolf in Rural Communities' Culture in the North of Portugal
The Wolf in Rural
Communities' Culture in
the North of Portugal
Figure 1: Livestock guarding dog with iron protective collar
(Photo: S. Ribeiro)
Photo: Francisco Álvares
In 1997 an anthropological study, co-
supported by Grupo Lobo, was initiated with
the goal of gathering information on different
cultural manifestations of the wolf in rural
communities in north Portugal. Data was
collected in around 90 rural villages through
personal interviews with inhabitants older
than 60 years old.The results show that the
complex cultural manifestations resulting
from wolf-rural communities interaction are
related with two distinct views of this
carnivore: one admits him as a real threat to
livestock; the other presents the wolf as a
mythic and supernatural beast, and which is
promoted by ancient and religious oral
traditions that associates the wolf with an
anti-Christ figure.The cultural manifestations
associated with wolves in North Portugal
have great affinities with the wolf in the
cultural tradition of several North Spanish
regions (Galiza,Asturias and North Castilla y
León), which demonstrate the ethnic and
cultural similarity between the people
inhabiting the mountains of NW Iberia.
There is no doubt that,for a long time, wolves
have represented a real threat to livestock,
causing important economic damage on the
weak rural economy.For that reason,over the
centuries, communities developed several
methods to prevent wolf predation on
livestock. One of them is the native breeds of
livestock-guarding dogs, which is
simultaneously a cultural and a biological
legacy.Traditionally, where wolves occur, the
shepherds protect the throats of these
massive dogs by using articulated iron collars
with sharp spikes or nails pointed outwards
(Figure 1). Less frequently dogs are provided
with articulated iron armour for the
protection of their abdomens and backs.
Rural communities have used several
methods to capture and kill wolves.The most
impressive method are the fojos do lobo or
stone wall traps or pits. The structures built
for capturing wolves were of three distinct
types.The simple fojo was formed by a single
pit in the ground (with or without levelled
stone walls surrounding the hole) located
along a frequently-used wolf trail, into which
wolves fell after being attracted by dead or
living bait, or pursuit by a hunting party or by
means of a rotating trap-door mechanism.The
goat fojo was a 15-30 metres diameter
circular stone wall inside which living bait
(most frequently a goat) was placed.The walls
of this trap allowed wolves an easy entrance
but it was almost impossible for them to get
out, due to a last row of overhanging stones.
The convergent walls fojo was a V-shaped trap
formed by two long stone walls (each one up
The Wolf in Rural Communities' Culture in the North of Portugal 11
Figure 2 – A convergent
walls “Fojo” or wolf trap
and result of a hunt
party-with 2 dead
wolves - in one of these
traps in the 1950s
(Photos: F. Álvares)
to 1km long and 2m high) which converged
into a deep pit, where wolves were driven by
a hunting party made up of large numbers of
local people from one or more villages
(Figure 2).
Capturing a wolf in one of these wolf traps
was a cause of great satisfaction and joy to
the rural population.The captured wolf, alive
or dead, was shown in all the surrounding
villages, with hunters collecting rewards and
enhancing their reputations. The pelt of
captured wolves was offered to prominent
local personalities or, less frequently, used in
festivities. Due to their great durability, the
pelts could also be used in the manufacture of
agricultural clothing.
The first references in Portugal to the use
of these wolf traps go back to the 10th
century,and these were regularly used among
rural communities until the end of the 19th
century.In certain Iberian regions, the “Fojos”
were still used until the late 1970s. Although
similar structures for capturing wolves are
known in other European regions (such as
Scandinavia,Alps, Romania and Hungary) and
in North India, it was in the NW Iberian
mountains that these stone-made traps
attained their most elaborate development.
However, most of these monuments of high
ethnological value and great touristic
potential have fallen into ruin, mainly due to
negligence and apathy. Fortunately, in the last
few years several restoration projects have
been implemented, many of them with the
scientific support of Grupo Lobo.
The fascination, hate and fear that the wolf
provokes, has produced over the centuries a
great number of tales and superstitions which
present the animal in a villainous light.There
are several folk tales and proverbs that
demonstrate a certain admiration for wolves
and some knowledge of wolf biology and
ecology. However the majority manifest a
distorted view of the wolf, investing the
animal with supernatural powers.This cultural
vision of the wolf reflects human desires and
fears and has nothing to do with the real wolf.
Among the rural communities very often the
wolf is spoken of as a mythical figure.
In north Portugal, in spite of the fact that
there are no authenticated cases of humans
being attacked by healthy wolves, tales of
wolves carrying out long-term persecutions
of farmers, and devouring isolated travellers
have persisted up to the present day. Such
stories form an oral tradition which is
common to the entire Iberian Peninsula.We
found several superstitions associated with
wolves, for example that simply being in the
presence of a wolf makes people’s hair stand
on end and renders them speechless for
several days. Other beliefs suggest an
association between the wolf and Satan, such
as the one which maintains that wolves never
eat the right arm of their victims, because it is
the arm used to make the sign of the Cross.
We also find that ancient prayers intended to
ward off the evil influences of the wolf or to
prevent wolf attacks on livestock, are still
recited today by many shepherds.
One of the most striking beliefs still
present in the mind of rural inhabitants in the
north of Portugal is the werewolf. It is
strongly believed that a curse placed on a
normal person can turn him into a wolf-beast
which attacks humans and animals.This may
be due to a paternal curse, the fact of being
an illegitimate child or by being the seventh
same-sex consecutive born child of a family,
unless his/her older brother is made his/her
godfather. Among rural people, it is believed
that if anyone wounds the werewolf, the
moment he sheds blood he will regain his
human shape.
In the far north of Portugal and in Galiza
(Spain) there survives the belief in the Fada
dos lobos or Peeira dos lobos which means
wolf’s fairy. It is a woman (usually elderly)
who has the power to communicate with
and control wolf packs, wandering with a
pack through the woods during the night ,to
help lost travelers find their way home or to
attack those who have dared to harm the
wolf’s fairy.
Apparently, a few centuries ago, the use of
the wolf’s throat was a common practice.
One of the most impressive cultural
manifestations connected to wolves is the
use of wolf’s body parts to cure human or
livestock illnesses. It is known that, in some
Iberian Peninsula regions, until the beginning
of the 20th century, a wolf’s teeth (mainly
canines),fur or blood was used to heal certain
human sickness. However, the perceived
magic properties of certain wolf parts is
implicitly recognized in the gola do lobo or
wolf’s throat, still in use in North Portugal.
The wolf’s throat is a piece of mummified
wolf’s trachea (or windpipe) used to cure a
illness called lobagueira, provoked by the
wolfs ‘poisonous’breath. This breath is
believed to hover around the places where
the wolf walks or to come from wolf’s
excreta. It is believed that this disease is
commonly carried by the domestic pig, an
animal that still represents the main source of
meat for these rural populations. It is believed
that dogs and goats can also carry the illness
without showing any symptoms, and infect
pigs.To prevent lobagueira, farmers still recite
little prayers or charms, and throw salt and
fireplace ashes over vegetation used for cattle
bedding and food or over livestock recently
attacked by wolves. However, even with all
these precautions and conjurations, the
disease could infect the pigs’ corral, making
these animals apathetic, and
debilitating them with pain. The
only way of healing these pigs
would be to pour water
through the wolf’s throat and
immediately give it to the sick
pigs to drink (Figure 3).
A few centuries ago the
wolf’s throat was commonly
used in several regions of NW
Iberia. Its generalized use has
been lost since the beginning of
the 19th century, with the only
known exception of Barroso (a
small and remote area in North
Portugal), where several
shepherds still use theirs to heal
the lobagueira. Some of these
wolf’s throats are more than
150 years old and have been
passed down from generation
to generation as a precious
heirloom. However, in the near
future, there is no doubt that
the use of the wolf’s throat will
only exist in the memory of
these rural communities that
still coexist with the wolf.
1612 The Wolf in Rural Communities' Culture in the North of Portugal
Figure 3 – A “Wolf throat” and a
woman pouring water through it
(Photos: F. Álvares)
Though it may seem strange, there are
modern myths that can greatly obstruct wolf
field research and wolf conservation. In many
rural areas of north Portugal, asking or talking
about wolves can antagonise the villagers.This
is because the outsider (often a wolf
researcher) might be one of those who are
‘releasing’ wolves. In Portugal, as in many
European regions, there is a widespread
rumour – particularly among the rural
populations but also among the media
and even some “wildlife conservationists” –
that the government, researchers or
environmental associations are deliberately
releasing massive numbers of wolves into
the wild.
Rural populations believe that wolves are
only released and do not breed in the wild
anymore.They say that these released wolves
are different from the ‘old ones’or ‘the real
ones’, although the descriptions of the
differences between the two are quite
incoherent.This belief may have its origins in
the confusion of wolves with feral/stray dogs
and with the great ignorance among rural
people concerning true wolf biology and
population dynamics.
It is a matter of urgency to study and record
all these vanishing cultural manifestations that
exemplify the cultural importance of the wolf
to rural communities. Not only are there
anthropological reasons, because these
manifestations express the intimate bonds that
link the rural people to their natural
environment and combine pagan beliefs with
catholic religiosity, but they also provide us
with important information about rural
communities’ attitudes toward wolves, which
can help to reduce human-wolf conflict.
In addition, in NW Portugal (mainly in
Peneda-Gerês National Park), several wolf
conservation actions are being conducted to
take advantage of this rich cultural heritage
and hopefully make wolves more acceptable to
local communities. Education and awareness
campaigns focused on children and adults living
in wolf areas have been undertaken with the
aim of giving them greater knowledge of this
vanishing wolf-related cultural heritage and
replacing irrational wolf myths with proper
scientific knowledge. Because the Iberian wolf
distribution area coincides with economically
less-favoured mountainous regions, several
eco-tourism activities (especially stone wolf-
traps’ restoration and guided tours centred on
wolf ecology and wolf-related culture) have
been also implemented.
Information request: We kindly request
researchers who may have any information on
this subject (cultural relationships between
wolves and rural communities) in other
European or Asiatic regions, to contact us by
e-mail (to or
Francisco Álvares is a research
biologist of the Science Faculty of Lisbon
University. Since 1993 he has been
conducting several studies in Portugal
and Spain on wolf ecology and on
the cultural wolf-man relationship.
Currently he is finishing his PhD
focused on the ecological relations
between wolves and free ranging
horses and cattle in Northwest
Por tugal. He is author and co-author
of several papers on ecology and
conservation of endangered mammals,
birds and reptiles, which are his
main research interests. Contact:
Pedro Primavera has graduated in
Anthropology in the Social and Political
Sciences Institute of Lisbon’s Technical
University. Since 1997 he has
participated in several projects
concerning the cultural human-wolf
relationship and the restoration of
stone-made wolf traps (“Fojos”). He
has been participating in national
and international workshops and
conferences on the cultural interaction
of wolves and rural communities.
The Isolated Wolf Population South of the Douro River: Status and action priorities for its recovery 13
The Isolated Wolf Population South of
the Douro River: Status and action priorities
for its recovery
Figure 1 – Wolf South Douro River distribution.
by Clara Grilo, Sara Roque,
Helena Rio-Maior and Francisco Petrucci-Fonseca
Major habitat changes associated with the
construction of several dams along the
Douro River (one of the major Iberian
rivers) in the 1950s has bisected the
Portuguese wolf population. Meanwhile, the
decrease of the Iberian wolf population
from the South and Central Iberian
Peninsula has led to the progressive
isolation of a small population south of the
Douro River in Portugal. This population
seems to be the only viable one south of
this river, although controversy surrounds
the survival and status of a Spanish Wolf
population in Sierra Morena (south Spain in
Andalucia Province) (Llaneza et al. 1997,
Blanco & Cortés 2002). This fact gives
Portugal a heavy responsibility to provide
suitable conditions for the maintenance of
the Portuguese Wolf Population South of
Douro River and its future recovery in the
Central Iberian Peninsula.
Besides the lack of prey, human persecution,
habitat loss, and reduction of genetic
variability, new threats have increased the
danger of extinction of this small Iberian
wolf population. Extensive logging and the
clearing of forests by fire (destroying
every year 250km2 on average) has been
reducing wolf shelter areas. The
construction of new roads and other
infrastructures can jeopardise the future of
this predator in the region due to road
casualties and population fragmentation.
Over the last ten years wolf road kills
amount to about 10% of the total
population (Rio-Maior et al. 2003).
Moreover, a highway (IP3) has been
constructed on the west limit of the wolf
range and crosses a pack territory dividing
the wolf distribution area (Figure 1). This
new highway may be acting as a barrier
and/or filter to animal movements, thus
increasing wolf population fragmentation.
The construction in the near future of Wind
Turbine Parks comprising an area of 20% of
the wolf’s range is being planned. These
infrastructures are associated with the
opening of new paved and forest roads,
increasing human access to natural areas
unspoiled until now. Most of them are
located in Natura 2000 sites that were
proposed in order to contribute to the
recovery of the Iberian wolf population.The
necessary minimisation measures of all
infrastructures proposed for Natura 2000
sites (including the mentioned highway) that
could reduce the threat of wolf extinction in
the area are being neglected.
Current wolf legal protection does not
seem to be sufficient to avoid local wolf
extinction. A management plan for Iberian
Wolf conservation and recovery that
considers the dispersal of individuals and
natural range expansion is needed.
Management measures should be applied to
promote wolf expansion to areas outside the
current distribution that still offer suitable
habitat for the wolf. A long-term study was
initiated in 1991 aiming to increase
knowledge of wolf ecology, to monitor
population evolution and to look at potential
area expansion. The study area was defined
taking into consideration wolf distribution
in the South Douro River area since the
1970s (Petrucci-Fonseca 1990) and the
results obtained so far allow the pointing out
of some guidelines for wolf conservation in
the area.
Wolf monitoring shows the existence, in
2003, of seven packs distributed across an
area of approximately 5000 km2 (Figure 1),
split into two nuclei.The West Nucleus is the
most viable one in the medium/long term,
since there is evidence to suggest that
reproduction has taken place in half of the
packs that are part of this group. The East
Nucleus has only one confirmed pack with no
evidence of reproduction and appears to be
in a very precarious situation. Further, in the
area along the Spanish border, wolf presence
was confirmed but it seems that there are no
established packs. This presence is probably
due to dispersers, solitary wolves or
members of very unstable packs (Roque et al.
2003a). The results demonstrate the danger
of extinction that this wolf population is
facing. Furthermore, although data are not
sufficient to reach a final conclusion,
exchanges of individuals between both nuclei,
which is fundamental for the survival of this
population, seems to be very difficult.
The feeding habits studies reveal a large
dependence on livestock, which represents
75% of frequency of occurrence (F.O.) in scats
(n=506). Cattle and goats are the main
domestic prey and wild boar the most
important wild prey (F.O.=7%). The presence
of cattle does not represent a predatory
selection, but results from the availability of
cattle carcasses – dumped on the field
inside wolf range (an illegal action according
to European Union legislation). In these
sites wolves can find an important amount of
“easy food” resulting from carcasses dumped
by the cattle industry, pig farms and poultries.
In fact, approximately half of the wolf’s
biomass intake results from its scavenging
habits. Nevertheless, damages to livestock
are still frequent. The highest values for
predatory impact were recorded for goats
and sheep - respectively 2.1% and 1.7%.
Each pack shows a different impact on
livestock depending on the availability of
livestock and husbandry methods in each
territory (Roque et al. 2003b).
crossing points on the
main unfenced roads and
all highway IP3 passages
in the wolf range
(Rio-Maior et al. 2003).
By comparing wolf
road kill spots and
crossing points, one can
conclude that the main
factor associated with
wolf road casualties
was traffic volume.
The implementation of
adequate traffic calming
measures, like bumpers,
near cross and kill spots
could reduce wolf road
kills. For a seven-
month period wolf
signs were registered
only in one passageway
of IP3. This is an
overpass characterized
by abundant vegetation
cover on both sides,
promoting habitat
contiguity. This result
indicates, on the one
hand, that IP3 acts as a
barrier to wolf movements and, on the other
hand, that wolves can use those passages with
adequate habitat management in surrounding
areas. This management can be achieved by
using the same vegetation included in the
surrounding habitats and a soil cover
depending on the type of vegetation to be
favoured, and by screening the area in order
to minimise the disturbance of animals by
light or noise. Thus, adaptation of existing
engineering works that have been
designed for other purposes can be an
adequate solution.
To conserve the Iberian wolf in this region,
the wolf suitable habitat must be managed in
order to maintain quality and avoid practices
unfriendly to wolf survival. The current
Natura 2000 Sites list proposed by the
Portuguese government is insufficient to
sustain wolves in the short/medium term
period. In the region there are only two
Natura 2000 sites suitable for the wolf:“Sierra
Montemuro” and “Sierra Freita-Arada”,
comprising 40% of the Wolf Population South
of Douro River range. For this reason, Grupo
Lobo and WWF/Adena proposed a new site -
“Lapa” - to the European Commission to be
included in the Natura 2000 network. This
site comprises the territories of three wolf
packs with regular reproduction over the last
few years (Figure 4). Efforts on wolf habitat
protection will allow the expansion of this
isolated wolf population; moreover, it will act
as a stimulus for regional wolf recovery,
thereby promoting Iberian wolf viability and
accomplishing the goals of the Habitats
Directive scientific criteria (Art. 6º)2.
The results point out some clear actions
needed to accomplish the goals of Iberian
authorities would appear extremely
important to establish a regional
conservation strategy focused on connecting
the two wolf populations from these
countries to improve their viability.
More reintroductions of the wolf’s wild
prey species, such as roe deer are still
needed in order to provide alternative
food resources for the predator. Based on
roe deer ecological requirements the
suitability of the South Douro River region
for the reintroduction of this prey was
assessed. Although roe deer are currently
nearly absent, this region still has significant
areas with suitable
habitat for the species
(Grilo & Petrucci-Fonseca
2003). New roe deer
reintroduction areas were
identified overlapping
areas of suitable roe deer
habitat and areas of high
wolf damage (Figure 3).
Nevertheless, further
research is needed to
evaluate the currentroe
deer density and to assess
habitat carrying capacity
to assure the success
of future reintroduction
Analysis of the road
network’s impact on this
wolf population was
assessed through a
monitoring programme,
including a survey of wolf
road casualty spots and
The Isolated Wolf Population South of the Douro River: Status and action priorities for its recovery
Figure 2 – Habitat suitability model for Wolf population South Douro River.
Figure 3 – Proposed areas for future roe deer reintroduction programmes.
In order to overcome the lack of wild prey,
occasional roe deer reintroductions were
made in the last few years by the local
governmental department of the Ministry of
Agriculture and the Institute of Nature
Conservation (ICN). Nevertheless, the impact
on the wolf diet is still far less than was
expected. At present, the very low
occurrence of roe deer (F.O.=0.2%) in the
wolf’s diet reveals that this species is an
insignificant prey item. However, recent data
seems to show an increase in the
consumption of this wild prey. The large
dependence on domestic prey and carcasses
at dumping sites reflects the threat that this
population is currently facing.This situation is
clearly distinct from the one found in the
Iberian wolf population living north of the
Douro River, where packs cause widespread
damage to livestock, mainly cattle and horses
(ICN 1997, Álvares et al 2000) or feed almost
exclusively on wild prey (Llaneza et al. 1996,
Moreira 1998).
A habitat suitability model was built in order
to evaluate the factors that seem to affect
wolf distribution and to assess the potential
of the South Douro River region for wolf
conservation and recovery. The model
underlies the importance of two factors in
determining wolf habitat: high prey availability
and reduced human pressure (Grilo et al.
2003).Wolf presence was confirmed in highly
suitable habitat areas, though strong
fragmentation lines exist (Figure 2). In spite of
a discontinued wolf presence near the
Spanish border, this area seems to have
potential for wolf recovery. Moreover, the
Spanish wolf population is only 50km away
from the East Wolf Nucleus. Improved
cooperation between Portuguese and Spanish
Llaneza, L., M. Rico,
G. Alonso, P. Alonso,
A. Abad, F. Hurtado &
F. Palacios (1997).
Situación del lobo
(Canis lupus signatus)
en Sierra Morena.
Pp. 26 in Situación y
conservación de las
poblaciones de lobo en
la Península Ibérica.
SECEM-Grupo Lobo,
Moreira, L. (1998).
O lobo. J. Azevedo (ed.),
Património Natural
Mirandela, 85pp.
Petrucci-Fonseca, F.
(1990). O lobo (Canis
lupus signatus Cabrera,
1907) em Portugal.
Problemática da sua
conservação. PhD
Thesis. Faculdade
de Ciências da
Universidade de Lisboa,
Lisboa, 392pp.
Rio-Maior H., S. Roque,C.Grilo & F.Petrucci-
Fonseca (2003). Monitoring roads impact on
south Douro river Iberian wolf population.
Abstract in International Conference on
habitat Fragmentation due to transportation
Infrastructure. IENE, Brussels.
Roque S., C. Grilo,S. Quaresma,H. Oliveira &
F. Petrucci-Fonseca (2003a). Conservation
problems and solutions for an isolated
Iberian wolf population in Portugal. Pp 61 in
World Wolf Congress 2003 - Bridging
Science and Community. The Central
Rockies Wolf Project, Banff.
Roque S., S. Quaresma & F. Petrucci-Fonseca
(2003b). Food habits and livestock
depredation in the Portuguese south river
Douro wolf population. Pp 204 in 4th
European Congress of Mammalogy. Brno.
The Isolated Wolf Population South of the Douro River: Status and action priorities for its recovery 15
Figure 4 – Proposal of Lapa site to be included in Natura 2000 network.
wolf conservation efforts. Their application
depends on the involvement of local
populations in decision-making and on the
availability of governmental or private funds.
Due to the complex relations between man
and wolf the recovery of Iberian wolf in the
South Douro River region is a big challenge
for those involved in it. Nevertheless, if
everyone fulfils all their duties and obligations,
Iberian wolf recovery in Portugal can be a
reality in the future.
Álvares F., E. Pereira & F. Petrucci-Fonseca
(2000). O lobo no Parque Internacional
Gerês-Xurés. Situação populacional, aspectos
ecológicos e perspectivas de conservação.
Galemys 12 (n.e.): 223-239.
Blanco, J. C. & Y. Cortés (2002). Ecología,
censos, percepción y evolución del lobo en
España: análisis de un conflicto. Sociedad
Española para la Conservación y Estudio de
los Mamíferos, Málaga, 176pp.
Grilo C., S. Roque & F. Petrucci-Fonseca
(2003). GIS and modeling in conservation: a
study case of the highly endangered Iberian
wolf population. Pp 105 in 4th Congress
Mammalogy. Brno.
Grilo C. & F. Petrucci-Fonseca (2003).
Modeling habitat suitability for roe deer
reintroduction in south Douro river iberian
wolf range. Abstract in VIth European Roe
Deer Meeting. Caldas do Gerês, Portugal.
ICN (1997). Conservação do lobo em
Portugal. LIFE Programme B4-3200/94/. Final
report. Instituto de Conservação da
Natureza, Lisboa, 231 pp.
Llaneza, L., A. Fernández & C. Nores (1996).
Dieta del lobo en dos zonas de Asturias
(España) que difieren en carga ganadera.
Doñana, Acta Vertebrata 23(2): 201-213.
Clara Grilo is a research biologist at
Faculty of Sciences - University of
Lisbon. She participated in two projects
associated with conservation of the
Iberian wolf South Douro River
population conservation giving support
in GIS and modelling. She is currently
working on her PhD which deals with
spatial modelling and impact of roads
network on carnivores. Her main
research interests are GIS and remote
sensing applied to nature conservation
and impact of linear infrastructures to
wildlife. Contact:
Sara Roque is a research biologist at
Faculty of Sciences - University of
Lisbon. She worked on wolf trapping
and radio-tracking since 1997 when she
finished her 5-year-programme in
Biology. She has participated in a
project concerning population
monitoring, feeding habits and
predatory impact analysis of the
endangered Wolf Population South of
Douro River, in Central Portugal. She is
starting a PhD focused on the role of
dispersal in wolf population dynamics,
viability and expansion of endangered
wolf populations. Contact:
Francisco Petrucci-Fonseca is an
associated professor of Biology at
Faculty of Sciences - University of
Lisbon. He has been developing
scientific research in wolf conservation
since 1979. In 1985 he founded the Wolf
Group in Portugal (Grupo Lobo) and
started the Signatus Project -
Conservation strategy for the wolf in
Por tugal.The first results obtained with
this project were published in his PhD
thesis in 1990, and since then he has
been coordinating several research
projects, from wolf ecology and
distribution to anthropology and social-
cultural human-wolf relationships.
Recovering the use of Livestock
Guarding Dogs to Protect the
Iberian Wolf in Portugal
Recovering the use of Livestock Guarding Dogs to Protect the Iberian Wolf in Portugal
Recovering the use of Livestock
Guarding Dogs to Protect the
Iberian Wolf in Portugal by Silvia Ribeiro and
Francisco Petrucci-Fonseca
Photo: Rui Vasco
Since 1997, Grupo Lobo, in collaboration with
other agencies, has been responsible for
integrating and monitoring more than 80 pups
from Portuguese livestock guarding dog
(LGD) breeds in goat and sheep flocks from
the north and central Portugal. With this
action we expect to reduce wolf damages
and the resulting conflicts with livestock
producers, thus contributing to the Iberian
wolf conservation. At the same time we are
also contributing to increase the economic
viability of the traditional livestock
production based on the extensive
grazing system.
It is well known that one of the major causes
for the human/wolf conflict is the damage this
predator causes to livestock. Nevertheless,
this same argument may have different
regional significance since it can depend on
cultural, social and economic factors. In most
of the Portuguese wolf distribution area,
livestock production is the main subsistence
activity of human rural communities. Flocks
are grazed under the extensive traditional
grazing system, being led everyday to the
mountain by one or two shepherds.This is a
hard way of life with a very low income,
where any loss can be significant. Although
wolf damages are compensated by the
Institute for Nature Conservation (ICN)
(based on weekly market value), animals that
disappear or indirect losses from the future
production of the animals attacked are not
compensated. Also, delays in payments are
common and can sometimes take up to a
year.All these factors can have a big influence
on the rural household economy and
consequently on the tolerance towards
the wolf.
Wolf damages are usually perceived as
being higher than real damages and as having
a larger economic impact than other
accepted losses. In some regions there is
some indifference regarding livestock
mortality due to disease. In some flocks this
mortality can reach half of the yearly kid goat
production. Therefore, we must take into
consideration the limited effectiveness of the
compensation measures commonly used to
reduce conflicts and implement the use of
alternative tools that minimise potential
conflicts. One alternative is the
implementation of livestock protection
measures that can actively prevent damages.
Today, with the efforts on nature
conservation and the increasing incentives
from the European Union for maintaining
livestock production in the traditional way,
there is once again the need to implement the
use of effective methods of livestock
protection and management that take into
consideration the conservation of large
carnivores. One of the most effective and
widespread protection methods is the use of
LGDs. The recent subsidies from the
European Union for traditional livestock
production have, nonetheless, caused other
problems, by promoting an increase in the
number of young and inexperienced livestock
producers and in the number of animals per
flock not accompanied by the necessary
reinforcement in protection.
The use of livestock guarding dogs is part of
the grazing system traditionally used
throughout Eurasia, where several breeds of
LGDs were selected to protect domestic
animals from predators, like the wolf or the
bear. In Portugal there are four recognised
breeds of LGDs: Cão de Castro Laboreiro,
the smaller one, with its origin in the
northwest mountains of the country; Cão da
Serra da Estrela, with its origin in the highest
mountain in central Portugal, from where it
borrowed its name and has two varieties -
short and long-hair; Rafeiro do Alentejo, that
comes from the southern plains; and Cão de
Gado Transmontano, the fourth and larger
breed that was recently recognised and exists
in the northeast mountains of Portugal.
Despite their importance and effectiveness
in reducing damages, the use of LGDs has
decreased in the last century mainly due to
the decline of the traditional grazing activity
and the general reduction of wolf populations
(see F. Álvares in this issue), thus rendering
useless those larger and more expensive
dogs. This situation has lead to the general
loss of knowledge regarding LGDs’ adequate
raising and education, and their replacement
with smaller hunting dogs, thus increasing
flocks’ vulnerability to predation. It has also
put at serious risk the Portuguese breeds of
LGDs, by drastically reducing their numbers
and consequently promoting inbreeding and
crossbreeding which could ultimately lead to
their degeneration.
The action initiated by Grupo Lobo to
recover and implement the use of LGDs in
Portugal has been developed in four phases.
The first phase consists of the global analysis
of wolf damages and the selection of priority
areas.A subsequent selection of the livestock
producers from those areas that have higher
damages is made based on an interview.
During this interview the existence of
adequate conditions for integrating an LGD
and the motivation of the livestock producer
to participate are assessed.
In the second phase the selection of the
pups is carried out,based on the quality of the
parents (e.g., absence of diseases, typical
morphology and good working behaviour).
Before receiving the pup, the livestock
producer signs a collaboration contract
accepting to comply with some basic
conditions concerned with the pup’s raising,
welfare and adequate socialisation. This
contract enables the exclusion of livestock
producers that are not following the
conditions considered necessary for raising a
LGD and the transference of his dog to
another flock.
After weaning, usually around 6-8 weeks of
age, the pup is integrated into the selected
flock. In this third phase the pup is confined to
the corral/stable and kept in strict contact
with the animals of its flock during 2-4 weeks
before starting to accompany the flock during
grazing. In those first weeks of socialisation
with the flock the pup should be kept with
Recovering the use of Livestock Guarding Dogs to Protect the Iberian Wolf in Portugal
Figure 1.A long-haired Cão da Serra da Estrela male pup perfectly socialized with the livestock.
(Photo: Raquel Simões)
Figure 2.A juvenile Cão de Castro Laboreiro male following its flock during the grazing period.
(Photo: Raquel Simões)
the existing lambs or kid goats while the flock
is out grazing. However, caution is needed and
younger lambs/goats should be promptly
isolated in case of excessive play/biting from
the pup. These initial weeks are also
important for the flock to become familiar
with the presence of the new pup in their
midst and decrease the fear/aggressiveness
towards him. Since some livestock breeds are
particularly aggressive, a shelter for the pup
should be prepared. Usually the pup learns
quickly to avoid the aggressive blows and will
prefer to stay among the livestock. After
those initial weeks of socialisation the pup is
ready to start accompanying the flock during
the grazing period. This initiates the fourth
phase during which the monitoring of the
pup’s physical and behavioural development is
conducted. Dogs are accompanied regularly
(at least every 1-2 months) during the entire
grazing period of the flock until reaching 12-
18 months of age. The pup’s behaviour
towards the animals in the flock, the
shepherd(s) and the other dog(s) from the
flock, as well as toward strange
animals/persons is registered (Fig.1).
The data are later analysed to evaluate the
dog’s efficiency. This monitoring also enables
the timely correction of undesirable
behaviours exhibited by the dog or by the
shepherd and the control of the dog’s sanitary
condition. This was considered to be very
important since most livestock producers
have a considerable lack of knowledge in what
comprises basic veterinary care.
The dogs are provided with appropriate
dog food until they reached adulthood and
with the necessary veterinary care.
Nevertheless, a mortality rate of 24% was
registered with most dogs dying of disease
(n=8), while two were poisoned, four
disappeared and the remaining four died of
other causes (run over by car, shot by
hunters, killed by wolves).
The secret to have a good working LGD is
adequate socialisation with animals in the
flock. This means placing the pup with the
flock during the socialisation period (at 6-8
weeks of age) and to limit the contact with
other dogs, animals or persons. This will
ensure that the pup will direct all its social
behaviour towards the animals in its flock
enabling the establishment of strong social
bonds that are the basis for the emergence of
adequate attentive, trustworthy and
protective behaviours.These are the essential
behaviour components defined by Raymond
Coppinger and collaborators (Coppinger &
Coppinger, 1978) for this type of dogs. An
attentive dog should follow the flock in its
daily movements during grazing thus
maintaining its proximity with it (Fig.2). A
trustworthy dog should not disrupt the flock
activity nor should actively chase,injure or kill
livestock.A protective dog should be alert to
the flock and to any strange situation and
protect it from potential threats (Fig.3).The
correct identification and analysis of these
behaviours is very useful when evaluating the
dogs’ efficiency,given that damages’ reduction
is not always a good index. Therefore the
efficiency of the adult dogs has been
evaluated according to three different
criteria: damages’ reduction, dog’s behaviour
and owners’ satisfaction.
A comparison of the average number of
damages per flock in the three years before
and one year after the integration of the dog
(i.e., when it reached adulthood) was
performed. The results show a general
reduction in the number of damages, from
33% to 100%.When analysing the number of
damages from each flock in relation to the
damages in nearby flocks, there was a
reduction from 10 to 40% in 60% of the cases.
Nevertheless, the results also show a
considerable variability in the annual number
of damages, demonstrating that other factors,
apart from the dog’s presence, like the density
of predators or the type and availability of
wild and domestic prey, could also be
responsible for the observed reduction.Apart
from fluctuations in prey density we should
also take into consideration that some
species have more effective anti-predator
behaviour than others.The level of protection
in neighbouring flocks can also change rapidly
if we consider the death and substitution
rates of LGDs. Furthermore, illegal mortality
of wolves by poison is not infrequent and can
cause the sudden extermination of entire
packs thus decreasing predation.The fact that
the number of damages could be misleading
regarding dog’s efficiency is exemplified by
some flocks that maintained or slightly
reduced the number of damages although
they have experienced a significant increase in
the number of attacks that were being
efficiently deterred by the dogs (Petrucci-
Fonseca et al., 2000).
Nearly 90% of adult dogs were exhibiting
attentive behaviour towards the flock (Fig.4).
Nevertheless, seven juvenile dogs were
identified as not behaving correctly. This
situation resulted mainly from inadequate
behaviour by the shepherd that was
reinforcing its bond with the dog or limiting
the contact with livestock. In two cases the
shepherds did not change their behaviour
and the dogs were transferred to other
Recovering the use of Livestock Guarding Dogs to Protect the Iberian Wolf in Portugal
Figure 3.A juvenile Cão de Castro Laboreiro male stays alert to any potential threat.
(Photo: Raquel Simões)
Figure 4.An adult short-haired Cão da Serra da Estrela male displaying adequate attentive
behaviour. (Photo:Raquel Simões)
flocks and in another case the dog was
definitely removed.
Only one adult dog was not trustworthy
and was immediately removed after killing
two sheep. Excessive play behaviour in
juvenile dogs can become a real problem and
was thus immediately corrected to prevent it
from being reinforced.All adult dogs exhibit
protective behaviours (alert to the flock
activity and movements, barking in strange
situations, placing themselves between
intruders and the flock, chasing and
occasionally fighting intruders) and actively
prevent wolf attacks. Shepherds are generally
satisfied with their dogs: 95% consider them
very effective and 60% say the dogs
were responsible for the observed
damages’ reduction.
Despite the initial suspicion about these dogs,
there has been an increasing acceptance.The
number of requests for dogs has also been
increasing exponentially mainly from
shepherds that have heard about their
efficiency or have seen them working.
Presently we have more requests than we can
satisfy.An effort will be made to associate all
interested livestock producers in order to
establish contact among them, facilitating the
exchange of pups and experiences. The
knowledge of participating livestock
producers about Portuguese LGD breeds,
raising LGDs and recognising good working
dogs has improved significantly. Training
actions are also scheduled for the end of this
year to overcome the lack of knowledge of
the livestock producers concerning dog
behaviour, welfare and basic veterinary care.
Although LGDs can be a very good help
they can be powerless in some situations,
namely when they are insufficient in numbers
or the management of livestock is not
adequate. Big flocks with few or no
shepherds, livestock that spreads during
grazing, pastures with dense vegetation or
high predatory impact, all demand a higher
number of LGDs. Even in well-protected
flocks, it is common for some animals to stray,
thus becoming an easy prey for the wolves.
Although dogs in the same flock can
accompany different groups of livestock, when
the number of stray animals is very small they
usually stay with the larger group. In this case,
the work of the shepherd in gathering the
flock is very important. The presence of the
shepherd is also useful because any
undesirable behaviour or situation can be
corrected and thus increase the efficiency of
LGDs. Furthermore, raising a LGD requires
an extra commitment by an inexperienced
shepherd and more than a year is necessary
before the dog may be fully effective.
Taking this into account, alternative or
complimentary methods to LGDs, namely
electric fences and fladry and other
traditional protection methods, are being
tested.The success of these actions requires
the implementation of the methods that best
complement and adapt to each situation.
Coppinger, R. & L. Coppinger (1978).
Livestock guarding dogs for U.S.Agriculture.
Hampshire College,Amherst, MA.
Petrucci-Fonseca, F., S. Ribeiro, A.E. Pires & C.
Cruz (2000). Contributo para a minimização
do impacto económico dos predadores sobre
os animais domésticos. Technical Report,
Programme PAMAF-IED. Lisbon: Faculty of
Sciences of Lisbon University.
Silvia Ribeiro completed a M.S. in
Ethology, at Superior Institute of
Applied Psychology, in 2003, where she
studied dog socialization and the
ontogeny of social preferences,
particularly in livestock guarding dogs.
In 1996, she completed a 5-year
programme in Biology at the Faculty of
Sciences ˆ University of Lisbon. Her
professional interests include
endangered species conservation
(particularly the Iberian wolf), animal
behaviour and animal welfare. Since
1996, she has been involved in wolf
conservation projects developed by
Grupo Lobo (Wolf Group in Portugal)
and initiated an action line aimed to
implement the use of livestock
protection measures in Portugal,
namely livestock guarding dogs, that
has continued until the present.She has
been invited to present the obtained
results in several scientific meetings in
Europe and North America. Contact:
PARIS, July 19 (AFP) - France on
Monday authorised its first wolf
cull since the 1930s in order to
reduce a colony of some 50
animals which sheep-farmers say
are wreaking havoc in the
southern Alps.
Ecology Minister Serge
Lepeltier told a news conference
in Paris that up to four wolves
can be shot by the end of the year
if attacks on sheep flocks
Lepeltier said the four
authorised kills represent 10
percent of the officially
established population,which is of
39 animals, rather than of the
widely accepted figure of 55. He
also said that if the first three
animals to be shot are female,
there will be no further kill.
The government had initially
planned to authorise the killing of
between five and seven animals,
but was forced to reduce the
number under pressure from
environmentalists who want to
see the wolf move beyond its
enclave in southeast France.
New law puts wolf in the
firing line
The government in Switzerland
has introduced a new law making
it easier to kill wolves that prey
on livestock, even though the
endangered animal is a protected
species. The legislation is a
compromise demanded by
parliament to take into account
the concerns of sheep farmers.
There has been a small wolf
population in Switzerland since
1995, but sheep farmers have not
welcomed the predator's
reappearance. Wolves have killed
dozens of sheep since they
crossed over into the Swiss Alps
from Italy.
Regulations were introduced in
2001 permitting the shooting of
any wolf believed to have killed at
least 50 sheep over a four-month
period, or 25 in a single month.
The minimum has now been
lowered to 35 sheep over a four-
month time frame, but the
cantons will be allowed to lower
the number to 15 within a year if
wolf attacks continue.
The government has also
agreed to compensate sheep
farmers for lost livestock, footing
80 per cent of the bill, with the
rest coming from the cantons. It
will also continue to subsidise a
pilot project, which employs
shepherds and sheepdogs to look
after herds grazing in areas where
wolves have been spotted.
Two environmental groups, the
World Wide Fund for Nature and
Pro Natura have now handed in a
70,000-signature petition
demanding that the wolf's
"protected status" remains. The
campaigners are urging
parliamentarians not to follow
the lead of the Senate, which
voted in favour of taking the wolf
off the protected animals' list.
They argue that there is enough
space for the animal in
Switzerland and say they are
fighting against the
"extermination of the wolf with
the authorities' blessing".
It is believed that keeping the
status quo would work to both
the wolf and farmer's advantage.
If the House of Representatives
decides this autumn to no longer
protect the wolf, farmers would
no longer receive government
compensation for any losses.
Pro Natura and the WWF say
they are offering to help farmers
improve the protection of their
flock, using guard dogs and
shepherds. But they continue to
face opposition from farmers.
Extinct wolf a symbol of
what Japan has lost
The Japanese wolf officially
became extinct 99 years ago.
More accurately, there has not
been a confirmed sighting since
the last of the species was
captured in the village of Higashi-
Yoshino,Nara Prefecture,in 1905.
But is the species really
extinct? My thoughts turned to
various extinct animals when the
Paleontological Society of Japan
last Sunday released a picture of a
wolf's skull, said to be the largest
ever discovered.
Two years ago, a forum titled
“Nihon Okami-no Sonogo”
(What's become of the Japanese
wolf?) was held in the village of
Otaki in Saitama Prefecture.
There had been reports of wolf
sightings and howls heard. In this
village, they once tried to lure
wolves by playing an audio tape of
howling Canadian forest wolves.
Folklorist Kunio Yanagita was
also interested in the Japanese
wolf. In the early Showa Era
(1926-1989),Yanagita wrote in his
book “Okami-no Yukue” (Wolf's
whereabouts):“I do not subscribe
to the theory that this species is
However, he was unable to
conclude the animals were still
around, either. With too little
evidence to go on, he noted,“My
sense tells me we may never
know the answer.
In Australia, a cloning project is
under way to bring an extinct
species back to life. The project
team has taken a DNA sample
from the preserved specimen of a
Tasmanian tiger, and has
succeeded in partially duplicating
this sample.The Tasmanian tiger is
believed to have been extinct for
68 years.
The concept of “regeneration”
is the theme of “Warai Okami”
(Laughing wolf), a novel by Yuko
Tsushima published by
The author draws a parallel
between Japanese wolves and a
boy and a girl who are living in
the chaos of post-World War II
Japan. In the novelist's mind, the
Japanese wolf is a symbol of what
Japan is losing today, and the wolf
also stands for the vitality that
can “regenerate” contemporary
society. A monument inscribed
with a haiku was erected in the
village of Higashi-Yoshino five
years ago. The haiku by Toshio
Mihashi says: “I walk/ With that
wolf/ That is no more.
The Asahi Shimbun, June
29(IHT/Asahi: June 30,2004)
Our thanks to Pat Morris
(Wolfseeker) for the regular
supply of wolf news from
around the world, and to
Andrew Matthews for his
sub-editing work. Articles
that are reprinted in full are
appropriately credited with
the author’s name and
details of where the article
was first published.
Wolves of the World
... This corresponds to the general tendency of higher mortality rates for more abundant mammal species (Cáceres 2011). However, road kills may be a serious source of mortality for other, often much less common species by significantly increasing the overall mortality of the population (Ferreras et al. 1992;Clarke et al. 1998;Grilo et al. 2004). Apart from the impact of traffic on the population numbers and dynamics of mesocarnivores, a distinct restriction on the use of the home range can be observed. ...
Full-text available
The methods used to assess the significance of land cover in the vicinity of a road for the mortality of mesopredators are diverse. In assessing the effect of land cover along the road on road causalities, scientists use various buffer sizes, or even no buffer along the road. The aim of this study was to verify how results of land cover effects on the mortality of mesopredators on roads may differ when analyzing various buffer sizes from the road. We assessed road causalities in the Warmian-Masurian voivodeship (Poland) from 3 consecutive years: 2015, 2016, and 2017. The roads were divided into equal sections of 2000 m each with buffer size of radius: 10, 250, 500, and 1000 m. We analyzed the number of road kills of red fox and European badger separately in a generalized linear model, whereas explanatory variables we used land cover types (based on the Corine Land Cover inventory) and traffic volume. Mean annual mortality from road collisions amounts to 2.36% of the red fox population and 3.82% of the European badger population. We found that the buffer size determines the results of the impact of land cover on mesocarnivore mortality on roads. The red fox differed from the European badger in response to land cover depending on the buffer size. The differences we have shown relate in particular to built-up areas. Our results indicate a 500-m buffer as best reflecting the land cover effects in road kills of both species. This was confirmed by model evaluation and a tendency to use or avoid the vicinity of human settlements of the analyzed species. We concluded that buffer size will probably affect mostly the significance of cover types that are spatially correlated with roads, positively or negatively. We suggest that the home range size of given species in local conditions should be assessed before determining the size of the buffer for analysis.
... It is also worth mentioning that the genetic group of Castilla y León encompasses areas under both Annexes of the directive, with wolves being listed either as game species or being fully protected. Nonetheless, illegal persecution is also common throughout the entire wolf range, both in Spain and Portugal 37,58 . ...
Full-text available
Highly mobile mammalian carnivores are expected to have the capability to maintain high levels of gene flow across large geographic scales. Nonetheless, surprising levels of genetic structure have been found in many such populations. We combined genetic and spatial behavioural information from wolves (Canis lupus) in the Iberian Peninsula (Western Europe) during the last two decades to present a particular case of low dispersal levels in a large carnivore population persisting in human-dominated landscapes. We found an exceptionally reticulated pattern of cryptic population structure emerging at two hierarchical levels, in which four or eleven meaningful genetic clusters can be recognized, respectively. These clusters were characterized by moderate-high levels of differentiation (average pairwise FST = 0.09-0.19), low levels of admixture and varying degrees of genetic diversity. The number of dispersers identified among the 11 clusters was very low (<4% out of 218 wolves). Spatial information of tracked wolves further confirmed the geographical genetic patterns (only 2 out of 85 collared wolves overlapped with more than one genetic cluster). The high levels of genetic structure in this population may be determined by the recent demographic history of this population, among other factors. The identification of meaningful genetic clusters has implications for the delineation of conservation units and, consequently, on the conservation and management actions for Iberian wolves.
... Several works ( Costa et al. 2007;Poeta et al. 2009) have reported the presence of ESBL E. coli strains among wolves' natural preys, such as wild boars and deer. Furthermore, in agricultural areas from southern Europe such as Portugal, wolf fed mainly on domestic ungulates, as well as carcasses dumped from intensive production units of pigs, poultry and rabbits (Meriggi and Lovari 1996;Vos 2000;Roque et al. 2001;Álvares 2004;Grilo et al. 2004). Antimicrobial usage for veterinarian purposes is widespread in all these domestic animals, especially in poultry and rabbit farms which represent the most heavily medicated sectors of the livestock industry ( Aarestrup et al. 2008;Hammerum and Heuer 2009). ...
While much evidence supports the view that the total consumption of antimicrobials is the critical factor in selecting resistance, the possibility of resistant isolates and/or genes encoding resistance being transferred among different living communities has raised serious concerns. In the present study, Escherichia coli isolates recovered from faecal samples (n = 34) of Iberian wolves (Canis lupus signatus) were characterized for their antimicrobial drug susceptibility. Nearly two thirds of the isolates carried resistance to one or more antimicrobial drugs (in a panel of 19 antibiotics), and resistance to tetracycline, ampicillin and streptomycin was most widespread. By screening a set of 20 multidrug-resistant E. coli for virulence genes, we found strains positive for cdt, chuA, cvaC, eaeA, paa and bfpA, which was the most common virulence trait. Phylogenetic analyses have shown that the majority of these E. coli strains fall into phylogenetic groups A and B1. In this study, the diversity of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing strains was expressed by both polymorphism of the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns and the presence of various resistance and virulence genes profiles. Finding the specific implications of these multi-resistant bacteria (hosting several virulence factors) in wolf conservation is a challenging topic to be addressed in further investigations.
... In fact, for some carnivores, road mortality has been identified as a serious source of mortality; e.g., the Florida panther (Taylor et al., 2002), wolves in Canada (Paquet, 1993); and Iberian lynx in Spain (Ferreras et al., 1992). In Britain, traffic is believed to kill more than 40% of the estimated adult Eurasian badger population annually (Clarke et al., 1998 ) and mortality on roads accounts for $10% of the endangered Iberian wolf population south of the Douro river in Portugal (Petrucci-Fonseca, 1990; Grilo et al., 2004). Although road mortality is the most visible impact, less is known about the barrier effect caused by road avoidance (McLellan and Shackleton, 1988; Lovallo and Anderson, 1996; Whittington et al., 2004; Alexander et al., 2005; Blanco et al., 2005; Jaeger et al., 2005). ...
Many carnivores have been seriously impacted by the expansion of transportation systems and networks; however we know little about carnivore response to the extent and magnitude of road mortality, or which age classes may be disproportionately impacted. Recent research has demonstrated that wildlife–vehicle-collisions (WVC) involving carnivores are modulated by temporal and spatial factors. Thus, we investigated road mortality on a guild of small and medium-sized carnivores in southern Portugal using road-kill data obtained from a systematic 36 months monitoring period along highways (260 km) and national roads (314 km) by addressing the following questions: (a) which species and age class are most vulnerable to WVC? (b) are there temporal and/or spatial patterns in road-kill? and (c) which life-history and/or spatial factors influence the likelihood of collisions? We recorded a total of 806 carnivore casualties, which represented an average of 47 ind./100 km/year. Red fox and stone marten had the highest mortality rates. Our findings highlight three key messages: (1) the majority of road-killed individuals were adults of common species; (2) all carnivores, except genets, were more vulnerable during specific life-history phenological periods: higher casualties were observed when red fox and stone marten were provisioning young, Eurasian badger casualties occurred more frequently during dispersal, and higher Egyptian mongoose mortality occurred during the breeding period; and (3) modeling demonstrated that favorable habitat, curves in the road, and low human disturbance were major contributors to the deadliest road segments. Red fox carcasses were more likely to be found on road sections with passages distant from urban areas. Conversely, stone marten mortalities were found more often on national roads with high of cork oak woodland cover; Egyptian mongoose and genet road-kills were found more often on road segments close to curves. Based on our results, two key mitigation measures should help to reduce WVC in Portugal. The first involves the improvement of existing crossings with buried and small mesh size fence to guide the individuals towards to the passages, in road segments with high traffic volume (>1200 vehicles/night) and located in preferred carnivore habitats. The second mitigation involves cutting or removal of dense vegetation in verges of road segments with curves to aid motorists in seeing animals about to cross.
Full-text available
Em Portugal o lobo ibérico encontra-se em vias de extinção, devido essencialmente à perseguição directa que o homem lhe move. Este conflito deve-se aos elevados prejuízos económicos que o lobo provoca nos animais domésticos, actualmente a sua principal fonte de alimento. O projecto que se apresenta tem dois objectivos principais: Contribuir para a diminuição do impacto predatório nos animais domésticos, através da protecção dos rebanhos com cães de gado de raças autóctones - Cão de Castro Laboreiro e Cão da Serra da Estrela. Usar este modo de protecção dos rebanhos como um método inovador de conservação do lobo. O projecto teve início em 1997, tem a duração de três anos e compreende três fases. Na primeira faseproceder-se-á à recolha de informação que permita seleccionar os pastores participantes e os cães autilizar e será ainda realizada a análise da consanguinidade de exemplares das duas raças. Na segunda fase será feita a demonstração da eficácia dos cães na protecção de rebanhos piloto, em regiões do Nordeste e Centro de Portugal. Por fim, a divulgação e expansão da medida constituirá a terceira fase. Os resultados obtidos até ao momento, relativamente à análise da consanguinidade são preliminares.
O lobo (Canis lupus signatus Cabrera, 1907) em Portugal. Problemática da sua conservação
  • F Petrucci-Fonseca
Petrucci-Fonseca, F. (1990). O lobo (Canis lupus signatus Cabrera, 1907) em Portugal. Problemática da sua conservação. PhD Thesis. Sciences Faculty of Lisbon Univessity. Lisboa. 392 pp.
El lobo ibérico, biología y mitología. Serie Ciencias de la Naturaleza
  • R Grande Del Brio
Grande del Brio, R., (1984). El lobo ibérico, biología y mitología. Serie Ciencias de la Naturaleza. Ed. Hermann Blume. Madrid. 344pp.
O lobo no nordeste de Trás-os-Montes. Património Natural Transmontano
  • L Moreira
MOREIRA, L. (1998). O lobo no nordeste de Trás-os-Montes. Património Natural Transmontano. João Azevedo Editor. Mirandela. 85pp.
Modeling habitat suitability for roe deer reintroduction in south Douro river iberian wolf range Abstract in VIth European Roe Deer Meeting. Caldas do Gerês
Modeling habitat suitability for roe deer reintroduction in south Douro river iberian wolf range. Abstract in VIth European Roe Deer Meeting. Caldas do Gerês, Portugal. ICN (1997). Conservação do lobo em Portugal. LIFE Programme B4-3200/94/. Final report. Instituto de Conservação da Natureza, Lisboa, 231 pp.
El lobo (Canis lupus) en España. Situacion, problematica y apuntes sobre su ecología
  • J C Blanco
  • L S Cuesta
  • Reig
Blanco, J. C.; Cuesta L. & S. Reig (1990). El lobo (Canis lupus) en España. Situacion, problematica y apuntes sobre su ecología. ICONA, Colección Técnica, Madrid, 118 pp.
Conservação do lobo em Portugal. LIFE Programme B4-3200/94/. Final report. Instituto de Conservação da Natureza
Modeling habitat suitability for roe deer reintroduction in south Douro river iberian wolf range. Abstract in VIth European Roe Deer Meeting. Caldas do Gerês, Portugal. ICN (1997). Conservação do lobo em Portugal. LIFE Programme B4-3200/94/. Final report. Instituto de Conservação da Natureza, Lisboa, 231 pp.