September 26, 2022

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“In Italy there are 3,300 but the first to disappear will be us men” – Corriere.it

From Stefano Lorenzito

The zoologist, considered the father of modern ecology, in 1972 was the only one who managed to capture a sample: it would be foolish to say that we released them

human lupus. Yes, Plutos was probably right. But Luigi Boitani updates the saying of the Latin playwright: I can entertain her for the next two hours and in the end she won’t know whether I’m talking about the man or the wolf, so our destinies are skipped. The truth is that men and wolves are the same. The zoologist devoted 50 years of his life to studying how to defend the latter from the former. He is considered the greatest connoisseur of these dogs on the Old Continent: in 1972 he was the first to catch them. For a quarter of a century presided over Europe’s Big Carnivore Initiative, which includes 58 scientists from 35 countries. After graduating in biological sciences, Boitani grew up at Yale University, at the School of George Evelyn Hutchinson, the greatest conservationist of all species, and is considered the father of modern ecology. He knows every secret of the 3,300 wolves that roam Italy: the Ispra estimate, updated to June 2022. Never before has such an expansion been seen. In the presidency since 1987, Boitani chaired the last exam session in Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology at Sapienza in Rome a few months ago. Now retired, so much so that the specialist who coordinated management plans for more than 30 national parks, from Mayela in Italy to Queen Elizabeth in Uganda, to Acacus Park in Libya could be: only Gaddafi’s signature was missing, but they killed him. He found his home buen retiro in the province of Siena, not far from San Galgano, the old Cistercian Gothic monastery without a roof. At an altitude of 300 meters there is a den of wolves.

If you choose them as neighbors.

I got there first. They were attracted to deer, fallow deer, deer, and wild boar.

How does familiarity with wolves arise?

accidental. I graduated with a thesis in entomology, on dragonflies. In 1972, after returning from Yale University, I wanted to study goats on the island of Montecristo in the Tyrrhenian Sea. But I got a phone call from Fulco Pratesi, founder of WWF Italy: “We’d like to know more about the wolf. Can you feel it?”

And since he felt it, what did he do?

She began with a tour of central and southern Italy, collecting statements and testimonies. This was the first research of its kind in Europe. But to understand more, it was necessary to pick up some samples. I called David Mech, who was studying the last remaining wolf colony in Minnesota. In other states of America, except for Alaska, it became extinct. Mech arrived with harmless traps and radio collars. We are still best friends. He will soon celebrate his eighty-fifth birthday.

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How many wolves did you hunt?

two. She then continued the research with the help of Erik Zemen, a Swede who was a disciple of behavioral scientist Konrad Lorenz.

What do radio collars prove?

That wolves do not descend into the cities in the winter. They are behind our homes every season, we just don’t see them. When young specimens leave the herd, they are looking for an area, a partner, and a meal. Which they found, as we have shown, in Navigli in Milan, on the hill of Turin where Gianni Agnelli lived, in the district of San Lorenzo in Florence, in the historic centers of Mantua and Ferrara, in the Po Delta, in Vigo, in Otranto, up to Santa Maria di Luca. Recently at the gates of Verona, in San Giovanni Lupatoto, which had a wolf in the municipal coat of arms.

From 1921 this species seemed extinct.

not like that. It was always there on the Apennines. However, from here it spread to the Alps. The first pair of wolves appeared on the Col di Tenda in the Ligurian Alps 30 years ago.

So it is not presented by man as you hear around you?

The greatest crap ever said. A young wolf can travel 1,500 kilometers per month.

So what is the goal of Life Wolfalps Eu?

Just to improve coexistence with humans in places where the wolf arrives alone on its feet. An ancient art that certainly does not need to be taught to the shepherds of Abruzzo, Erbinia and Calabria.

But for those of Veneto, s.

To defend herds from wolves, breeding of certain animals is required, consisting of a maximum of 600 animals. In Abruzzo we talk about Mora: it means 300 sheep, a shepherd and three dogs, Maremma. Thus losses are reduced to a minimum. When the damage became unbearable, the wolves stepped in over the winter and killed very few specimens.

Do they call you to explain these things?

I have worked well with the Piedmont region for ten years. For the rest, only one intervention in the Aosta Valley and two conferences in Veneto, in Licinia.

How do you discover the presence of wolves?

With camera traps, set of footprints, tufts of fur and droppings along the tracks. Between July and September even with a howl: If I cry, the little ones answer me, fools.

Does the wolf have a favorite habitat?

No, the most adaptable and opportunistic animal on Earth. They are found everywhere, from the Arctic to the deserts of Saudi Arabia, with the exception of tropical forests. I spent 45 days in Ellesmere, the northernmost of the Canadian Arctic Islands, along with a pack of huge and beautiful white wolves. They are not afraid of the man, I followed them two meters away. I completely understood their psychology.

and what?

They always play, play and play, although they are immersed in the polar night for six months of the year, at minus 50 degrees Celsius.

Was it the only close-up interview?

Well, no. I had several others in Mayella National Park, and recently, under the house, 30 meters away: four adult wolves with six young. They fled immediately.

Does the wolf run away in front of the man?

Every time. I don’t know of a case of aggression in Italy and abroad, only the case of Candice Berner, who took place in 2010 in a small Alaskan village.

How can this tragedy be explained?

He was running around and was wearing his iPod headphones, not noticing the coming of the wolves. Running means prey. But it was the first time in the US in 50 years.

Near my house, in Campossilvano, in 1655, a housewife was butchered by a wolf who was standing washing clothes in a pool of water. There is a stone cross near the Buse di Sotto area to remember.
Anger was rampant at the time. Hydrophobic animals always attack humans, even weasels do. Two historians’ articles reconstruct all these deaths from the parish records. From the 15th to the 19th centuries, wolves caused 77 victims in Italy, five of them due to rabies infection. No attacks have been reported in the past 100 years.

So she’s not afraid of wolves?

Only for the sake of Ashi, the eighth dog in my life, a Monsterlander puppy could become prey.

How many wolf pups does a wolf give birth to?

Three to ten, once a year, but not everyone survives.

Can it be prevented from reproducing too much?

is not necessary. The herd controls from 80 to 500 square kilometers, on average 300. This means that the Italian peninsula is already saturated. The wolf finds still colonized areas only in the Alps.

Go and tell the shepherds and breeders.

Dogs and electric fences are sufficient to defend livestock. But the mountain-dwellers must understand that they cannot leave flocks and flocks out in the open at night to go down to their wives in the valley. However, there are compensations. Years ago, I made sure that every sheep received an EU subsidy equivalent to 60 percent of its value. Therefore, if the wolf tore him to pieces, the regions would only have to repay the remaining 40 percent. But that’s what the shepherds neglected to say.

Shall we eliminate the wolves?

I can admit that local exemptions are granted. But only by the state. of protected species. Killing them is a crime.

What is the worst danger to a wolf?

hybridization. 40 years ago, for every 2-4 wolves present in an area of ​​\u200b\u200b100 square kilometers, there were 150-310 wandering dogs and 24-82 wild dogs. I received a terrible video in the Tarvisio Forest: it shows a whole flock of hybrids.

I met Mario Messi. He deliberately crossed them with the Italian Wolf Protection Authority.

mad. I fought this guy. I went to a hearing in Parliament. He legally wanted to get money from the state. He tried to give me one of his bastard wolves. I replied that a dog is enough for a man for 10,000 years.

Have you then researched in Montecristo?

No, but these are just whims, they are not in danger.

An animal rights activist doesn’t talk like that.

But I am not an animal rights activist. I don’t put the individual first. I care that the species survives.

And how many are there?

In Italy 57,000. In the world 1.7 million are described, but it is estimated that they are up to ten times higher. Today we are in the sixth mass extinction.

Who will be saved?

After the disappearance of the man? Ant. And after the ant wolf.

August 12, 2022 (changed August 12, 2022 | 22:47)