Quercus offers sheepdogs

Quercus offers sheepdogs to farmers

In an inspired example of lateral thinking, environmental organisation Quercus is offering sheepdogs to farmers who don’t have their own. The idea is to deter breeders from resorting to poison as a way of protecting flocks and herds from nighttime predators.
“People use poison, even though it is illegal, to stop attacks on their animals,” Quercus’ Samuel Infante explained.
“We’re offering sheepdogs to sheep and cattle breeders who don’t have shepherds or sheepdogs.”
The initiative, to start in the Parque do Tejo Internacional, is being tried also in Spain and Greece – and so far it is getting results.
“In certain areas, the flocks that didn’t have a dog and then started to have one have reported a 100% fall in the number of attacks,” Infante told Público newspaper.
“All that’s needed really is the presence of a dog at night. It deters a whole series of predators.”
The dogs being used are all Portuguese breeds, like the Serra de Estrela and Transmontano cattle dog – which again helps not just to preserve life but Portuguese culture at the same time.
Infante explained that the use of poison puts a whole host of species at risk, as well as posing a serious public health risk.
As the four-year-long project gets underway, Quercus has been unearthing “poison traps” all over the Tejo natural park.
“We have areas where we found dozens of poison traps,” Infante told Público, stressing that poison was the principal cause of ‘non-natural’ death among species in danger of extinction throughout Europe.