The return of wolves in France led to an upheaval of pastoral practices applied for several decades. These deep changes often brought about an increase of the working hours and of the hardness of the work for shepherds and breeders. It is therefore crucial to support them in these transformations by improving their working conditions.
The herding of herds in summer requires a daily presence on the high mountain pastures, which are sometimes difficult to get to and the development of facilities to reduce the dangerousness of some high mountain pastures.
The territorial collectivities (towns, regional councils, general councils) mainly finance this type of investment that can be co-financed by European funds in the frame of the 323 C measure of the French Rural Development Plan.
The subsidized investments are:
building or restoring the high mountain pasture cabins;
the electrification of the cabins, often thanks to the laying out of solar panels;
equipping the cabins with showers and toilet locks;
the access trails to the cabins, which also facilitate the transportation of protective means;
the installation of protective fences along the rock formations and other cliffs so as to prevent rocks from falling.
Equipping the cabins is a crucial point: it is necessary that the breeder or the shepherd should benefit from decent living conditions. A vast enough cabin can allow him to live with his family in summer or facilitate living with a shepherd’s assistant.
- Form from the @lpes programme: Repairing, building a shepherd’s shelter: principle and legal frame of the building or restoration of high mountain pasture cabins (in French)
- Minutes of the seminar of the LIFE programme of restitution - p.87: Presentation of programmes of rehabilitation or building of chalets and shepherds’ shelters (in French)
Support in the Regional Natural Parks:
The Queyras and Vercors Regional Natural Parks notably have a policy of support of pastoralism that makes the protection of herds easier:
development of communication media (telephone, radio) in the high mountain pasture cabins aiming at breaking the isolation of shepherds in the mountain summer pastures;
organization of collective helicopter transport of equipment when going up to the mountain summer pastures;
implementation of "pastoral squad" riding horses or pack donkeys that can intervene on any high mountain pasture notably in order to help the shepherds with the transportation of equipment.
- Supporting measures in the Vercors and the Queyras: Both RNP locally implement additional measures of prevention and of support compared to the national level. The local structure favours the acceptance of these measures (in French)
- Minutes of the seminar "Wolf-breeding": open up to diversity (p. 58 to 62): Taking into account the risk of arrival of wolves in a RNP: example of the Verdon (in French)
Training of breeders and shepherds:
Training courses are put in place, notably in the frame of programmes of training by the Chambres d’Agriculture  and the Centres de Formation Professionnelle et de Promotion Agricoles (CFPPA) , to allow a good integration of protection dogs in the herds or to train the shepherds on the management of risks and restraints linked to the predation by wolves.
The initial trainings of shepherds, or even of breeders, remain to be developed.