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Local people can see large predators such as wolves as a threat to their sheep and therefore their livelihoods. In Georgia FFI and NACRES are now engaging with the shepherding community, looking at ways to reduce the impact of predation and help people to live side by side with the area’s wildlife.
Project Field Coordinator, Georgia, Fauna & Flora International
The mysterious grey wolf once roamed freely across the wilderness areas of the northern hemisphere. More recently, however, it is seen less and less frequently with local extinctions occurring across Western Europe. Today, thankfully, numbers appear to be more stable.
Historically the wolf has been vilified by almost every culture with which it has come into contact; from the story of Little Red Riding Hood that dominates children’s stories in the West to the shape-shifting werewolf, or spectre wolf, that was once more familiar in the east, the wolf became an avatar reflecting the darker side of man’s own nature.
Whether this demonising of the wolf came as a result of man’s shift from hunting and gathering to farming and herding, or whether it was the inevitable result of the “civilising” of human culture is debatable. What is clear, however, is the persecution that ensued and the near total extinction of what was once the planet’s most wide-ranging mammal.
Even though numbers of grey wolf appear to be stable they are threatened by human-animal conflict with shepherds and fragmentation of habitat.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI), through the Georgian Carnivore Conservation Project, is working with Georgian conservation organisation NACRES to protect the wolf and other threatened animals that share its home.
Grey wolves once had the largest natural distribution of any mammal except human beings. Sadly, they can no longer claim this record as they have lost much of their former range.