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Dialogues on wolves – strengthening shepherds’ networks in the Alps

Mar 17, 2023
A project that promotes exchanges of knowledge across national and linguistic borders between shepherds in the Alpine region.
Image caption:
(c) Mirjam Kogler

Grazing in the Alps is essential for the preservation of their unique cultivated landscape and biodiversity. The return of wolves is only one of many challenges facing shepherds: others include herd protection measures, the promotion of biodiversity, and educational work to avoid conflicts with other users of the Alpine regions. Meeting these challenges will require a transfer of knowledge between shepherds from the different Alpine countries. CIPRA is promoting this knowledge exchange with its project “Dialogues on wolves – strengthening shepherding networks in the Alps”. Among other things, the project team is testing a further training module for shepherds and, in collaboration with experts, is compiling a short dictionary for shepherds with relevant terms relating to shepherding in the four Alpine languages of German, French, Italian and Slovenian. The kick-off event for the project will take place on 21 and 22 April 2023 in Illnau/CH and Schaan/LI.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), the Payne-Smith Foundation, unaterra and the Temperatio Foundation.

Project goals:

  • Strengthening the profession of shepherding in the Alpine regions

Creation of a decision-making basis and testing of a prototype organisation with the aim of establishing a cross-border organisation for shepherds in the Alpine regions.

  • Promotion of transnational knowledge transfers between shepherds

Alpine-wide networking of shepherds’ organisations so as to create structures and communication channels for transnational knowledge exchanges.

  • Support for coadaptation between humans and wolves

Improving conflict management skills of the stakeholders concerned around the issue of wolves, herd protection and humans.

  • Preserving and promoting biodiversity in the Alps

Teaching of appropriate herding techniques by qualified shepherds.


  • Creation of an Alpine-wide overview of shepherds’ organisations on the Alpine Convention map (October 2022 to April 2023).
  • Kick-off event (21-22 April 2023)
  • Identification of 4-8 partners to work together on an Alpine-wide shepherding network (spring 2023).
  • Creation of a short dictionary for shepherds in the four Alpine languages: German, French, Italian, Slovenian (spring 2023 – autumn 2024)
  • Development and running of a training course for shepherds (25 participants in total) on the topic of herd protection and conflicts of use on pastures / in the Alps (spring 2023 – autumn 2024)
  • Final event and evaluation workshop (autumn 2024)

Duration: October 2022 to October 2024

Actors and target groups involved:

  • Herders (with focus on small livestock herders)
  • Shepherds’ organisations in the Alpine regions
  • Agricultural colleges (with focus on training centres for shepherds).
  • Actors from agricultural authorities
  • Consultative agricultural and Alpine farming institutions

Project languages: English, German, French

Contact for shepherds’ network:

Project management:

Manon Wallenberger, project manager for social innovation, , phone +423 237 53 53

Contact for shepherds’ network


Supported by:

Image caption: