The wolf is an opportunist carnivore, which rather attacks wild ungulates. However, in breeding areas, it does not hesitate to attack domestic herds and especially small-size ungulates like sheep or goats. In France, the first attacks were counted in the Mercantour shortly after the return of wolves in 1992.
Ever since, the number of attacks on the herds has increased correlatively to the geographic expansion of wolves.
In order to limit these losses, breeders put in place protective measures, either using their own funds or by signing contracts co-financed by the French State and the European Union.
In order to compensate the damages suffered by the livestock, a procedure of indemnification was implemented. It draws its legal basis from the status of protection of wolves and from the sensitivity to poaching of populations characterized by their low numbers. The same happens for bears and lynxes.
The procedure of indemnification is linked to a systematic official report made in the field, which aims at telling apart the attacks linked to predation from other cases of death and then to rule out the attacks made by other predators such as straying dogs, foxes...
- CERPAM Report: wolves and predation (1997)): Report on the wolves, the predation on the herds and the protective measures. The presence of wolves raises a real problem for the ovine extensive breeding and the current protective measures are not optimized (in French)
- Thesis by N. Espuno: Study on the predation by wolves on the domestic livestock (in French)
- Sensitivity in front of wolf attacks: Confrontation between a theoretical pattern of sensitivity (CEMAGREF) and the observed sensitivity (reports on wolf attacks) - Wooding, 2004 (in French)