The strategies of protection of the herds imply a strong mobilization of working force while the operating revenue remains stable. They have an important impact on the economic profitability of the productive system or on the workload of the breeder but do not guarantee that predation will stop. In this context, an autonomous adaptation of the mountain breeding to the presence of the predator remains difficult.
The financing of protective means and of the indemnification of damages, which is planned to continue in the context of the National Policy on wolves 2008-2012, is a crucial yet not always sufficient element in preparation to limit the impacts of wolves on the livestock.
However, the perspectives of evolution of the pastoral breeding systems subjected to the restraint of the presence of wolves are various:
large-distance transhumant breeding that may become durable. The summer period is strategic in the farms and there are no risks of giving up. The period of risk exposure is limited in time and the large unitary numbers involved allow to better pay off the whole of protective means;
a mountain breeding attracted by the pastoral recesses and the intensification of the production. Confronted with a "dangerous" pastoral space, some breeders who have a favourable farm structure at their disposal can be tempted to withdraw their animals and to concentrate them on the UAA (Usable Agricultural Area), in a more extensive perspective;
a very pastoral breeding in the Mediterranean mountains, which has become largely dependent on the funding allotted for the wolf. Without a fodder or meadow basis, these breeders cannot do without their pastoral extents and the risk exposure of their herd is maximum (all year long, all the batches of animals);
breeders either diversified or involved in several activities who might give up the ovine activity if the losses, the costs or the restraints seem excessive to them. These breeders own a small number of animals and do not have leeway to manoeuvre to invest in the ovine activity, which does not constitute their main income.
The current presence of the wolf population in the Alps concerns very different types of breeding, with more or less important factors of vulnerability (time spent grazing, presence of lambs on the pasture, allotment, grazing in fenced pens, layout of the premises: relief, shrubby areas...).
The extension of the wolf population in and outside the Alps is likely to involve new herds, which may gather some of these factors of vulnerability (notably grazing systems with pens only and constitution of several small-size batches of animals).
The National Policy on wolves 2008-2012 plans the development of experimentations, giving a key-role to Natural Regional Parks and National Parks, so as to make the adaptation of protective means easier in these new contexts.
It also plans the implementation of a management of the wolf population on a case-by-case basis, in order to prevent important damages from being done to the livestock. Taking into account both the biological and human criteria should make it possible to give a better answer to the specificities of each situation dealt with.