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Latvian sheep farmers are coming to Estonia to learn prevention of predator damage

Sheepdog Lembo at work in Karula national park. Photo taken by Mats Meriste.
Sheepdog Lembo at work in Karula national park. Photo taken by Mats Meriste.

This upcoming weekend, the representatives of the Environmental Board and the Estonian Sheep and Goat Breeders Association will share their knowledge and experience on preventing, decreasing and compensating predator damage with Latvian sheep breeders.

On their study trip to Estonia, the Latvians will visit several South-Estonian sheep farms, where they will learn how to effectively use efficient means to protect their herds, such as installing predator fences and raising sheepdogs. The Estonian procedure for compensating predator damage and damage prevention costs is also introduced.

“In Estonia, the nationally organized compensation for predator damage and damage prevention has been functional for nearly ten years. We have acquired a lot of good knowledge in that time. Latvia has no such national system. For this reason, it is very important to talk to our closest neighbours and exchange experiences with them,” said Head Specialist of Nature Conservation of the Environmental Board Tõnu Talvi.

Wolves kill up to a thousand sheep per year in Estonia and the damages caused are compensated to sheep farmers by the Environmental Board. Year by year, the use of efficient herd protection measures applied by breeders has increased and expenses on those are partly compensated by the state.

“Estonia and Latvia share a predator population and the predators behave in similar ways. The territory of several wolf packs covers Estonia and Latvia at the same time. We also have similar sheep breeding practices and issues. For this reason, a mutual exchange of knowledge and experience will benefit both parties,” Talvi added.

According to board member of the Estonian Sheep and Goat Breeders Association Ell Sellis, our sheep breeders cooperate closely with the Southern neighbours. “The issue of predator damage prevention and compensation is currently very topical in Latvia. They have heard about the success stories of Estonian sheep breeders regarding sheepdogs and are very interested in implementing similar practices in Latvia. In addition, we will show the Latvians which new sheep breeds have been brought to Estonia, how our breeding work has progressed, and visit the Muru wool factory with its modern technology near Rõngu. Our sheep breeders definitely have things to show visitors,” Sellis assured.

More information:
Tõnu Talvi
Head Specialist of Nature Conservation of the Environmental Board
telephone: 5016869
e-mail: tonu.talvi@keskkonnaamet.ee

Ell Sellis
Board member of the Estonian Sheep and Goat Breeders Association
telephone: 5238902
e-mail: selliseell@gmail.com

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