My name is Paul White and I am the founder and former Director of the Transylvanian Wildlife Project (TWP), with a special interest in human/predator co-existence. I left the TWP in July 2013 to study and document non-lethal forms of livestock protection, as practiced by Transhumance shepherds and their Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) in the Carpathian mountains.
Transhumance has been practised in Transylvania for more than a thousand years, supported by tried and tested methods of pastoral animal husbandry. A high level of supervision is required by both shepherds and dogs to protect grazing flocks from depredation by large numbers of brown bears and wolves that roam across the Carpathian mountains. Local transhumant shepherds have taught me some valuable lessons in conservation who view the mountains and forests as their bread basket, something to be nurtured and cared for, as without it they are fully aware their traditional way of life would soon end. They see the wolves and brown bears as part of that environment and believe that they have equal right to be there. They are not armed and when sheep and goats are taken, they don't call for predators to be culled as they expect some losses throughout the year. They may not be aware of it but these pastoral shepherds best demonstrate the harmony that is possible between humans, wildlife and environment.