Piacenza, electrified soft toys against wolves: the experiment to avoid attacks on domestic dogs
Of Marco Vigarani
The study of two universities and the Region: a first specimen “torn to pieces”.
The relationship between man and wolf is a theme capable of fascinating entire generations, with legends and superstitions that fortunately over the centuries have given way to coexistence and study. The theme is particularly felt in Val Nure, in the Piacenza area, where some herds have recently often approached inhabited centres. In several cases, several attacks on dogs, especially hunting dogs, have been reported.
The attack on the cuddly toys
To study the behavior of wild animals and find a way to dissuade them from preying on dogs, in fact, the Emilia-Romagna Region about a month ago decided to install some “electric” plush dogs monitored by cameras. It is an experiment sponsored by the universities of Vienna And Sassari which has already led to a first result. In these nights some wolves have approached one of the soft toys located in the Ferriere area and, after a phase of study, they attacked it by removing a part of it and thus receiving the expected small electrical stimulus which was sufficient to make them move away quickly. It’s about a first small step in trying to find a way to avoid new cases of predation against dogs.
«At the end of December we went to position some of these fake dogs in the Piacenza Apennines, in the Ferriere area where for months there have been frequent predatory attacks by wolves on dogs, especially hunting dogs. The objective of this experimentation, the most daring and “visionary” that I have ever carried out (carried out at no cost), was only to verify if it was possible to have interactions not with the simulacrum that we used in Tuscany, but with a “special ” to which we have applied a system to generate powerful (but harmless) electric shocks on contact. Then verify if there were the conditions to create a new form of aversive conditioning. The wolf that preys on the dog, gets the shock, creates a negative association and maybe learns the lesson and avoids looking for that specific prey».
The wolf attacks were the focus of a summit in the prefecture. The entities present illustrated the various data available and requested public contributions for the prevention and compensation of the damage suffered, while the local institutions proposed to collect all the reports of the territory to share them with the regional leaders. From the comparison table also emerged a document of a decision of pages entitled “Good practices for a correct coexistence with the wolf in agricultural and anthropized areas”, a handbook useful for divulging some significant information on the presence of the wolf in the Piacentino area and share some good rules to follow.
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January 28, 2023
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