Against the spread in Maremma hybrid wolf - dog is a priority counter the bad management of dogs and poaching

La conferenza internazionale convocata da Ibriwolf a Grosseto

These are some of the topics discussed in the just ended international conference ...

  • How to recognize the hybrid wolf - dog?
  • How to to assess whether the existing Apennine wolf population is now completely contaminated by the presence of hybrids or if you are at an early stage, in which you can possibly intervene?
  • You should / can intervene? In what way?
  • What are the ecological characteristics of hybrids and what consequences they have on the environment and society?

The International Conference on mammal species hybrids, was held in Grosseto 2 to 4 November 2014, as part of the Project Life Ibriwolf, aimed at public officials, organizations of the agricultural sector, technicians (agronomists, biologists, naturalists, geneticists and veterinary), the environmental groups and animal welfare organizations and the scientific community engaged in research in this field.

Many examples taken from the many speakers from around the world, suggest that the issue is complex and that the responses do not depend exclusively on the scientific knowledge, but also delicate ethical and social issues that can not be ignored. The example of Grosseto, with Ibriwolf LIFE project funded by the European Union, to pioneering in Italy, fits perfectly in the context of uncertainty and operational complexity of the phenomenon.

The hybridization between species or between individuals belonging to subspecies of the same species occurs in nature since time immemorial. When it is caused by human intervention, hybridization can result in individuals who may have a potentially negative impact on wildlife, but also on human activities that take place in urban environments.

It 's the case of hybridization between wolves and dogs. This type of hybridization, as in many other wild animals and their immediate household, it could lead to consequences more difficult to assess, but which include the loss of the Apennine wolf of local adaptations developed with change and the introduction of variants genetic accumulated by the dog through artificial selection that would favor the occurrence of morphological changes, behavioral and ecological borne by the wolf.

The operational prospects of hybrids include prevention and mitigation (control), the latter with a range of methods ranging from the capture and captivazione, sterilization; the solution will depend upon the context and whatever it is is not possible without:

  • a final and permanent control of stray dogs in rural areas, 
  • from preventive interventions targeted specifically against poaching against the wolf, which causes changes in the numerical relationships and social context within wolf packs, and against the availability and easy access to anthropogenic food that facilitates the persistence of nuclei animals made up of a few individuals to solitary individuals.

The Province of Grosseto, as leader, has carried on for three years, the LIFE project Ibriwolf, focusing on the problems inherent in the management of hybrids between wolves and dogs together with project partners: the Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Sapienza University of Rome the Maremma Regional Park, the Union of mountain Municipalities of Amiata and WWF Italy.

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