The website was launched in July in Allos, in the Alpes de Haute-Provence, it allows hikers to geolocate herds of cattle and guard dogs to avoid any accidents.
“They are impressive, it’s true” quickly recognized Bertrand Selosse, Pastoral mediator in Allos, commune of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Long-legged, mostly white-haired, patous and other guard dogs have become an obsession for hikers.
” I get a lot of calls from people who want to know where the herds are to avoid them. There is psychosis around guard dogs” confirms one who has been doing pastoral mediation for more than five years.
The mission of the patou is to protect the herd from predators and especially from the wolf. Every year the encounters between them and hikers or other dogs are not always good.
In 2021, the Center for Pastoral Studies and Achievements Alpes-Méditerranée (Cerpam) was recognized in eight departments including Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, 70 incidents. That’s about thirty bites to people and 15 to walking dogs. 24 pinches are also counted.
Faced with this observation, Bertrand Selosse thought and worked to create a site so that hikers could avoid guard dogs. Accessible since July 12 on smartphones, “Pastorando” geolocates flocks and therefore guard dogs. The system is in the experimental phase until the end of summer and is funded by the State.
“The map is updated regularly, we see the position of the sheep represented by many blue circles, hikers may decide to go around and take another route to avoid the guard dogs“Explanation by Bertrand Selosse.
To do this, tracking collars were placed around the necks of the two leading females, from each of the 13 herds grazing in the community of Allos. The site also provides advice that can be used in the event of an encounter with guard dogs.
“This app is very important to us. The particularity of the commune of Allos is that we have pastoralism and tourism in the mountains and that we have to live together“said Maurice Laugier, president of the Alpes-Provence-Verdon community of communes (CCAPV), which supports the project.
For breeders in the community of Allos, the use of guard dogs is almost mandatory to protect the herds from wolves. This summer there have been 8 wolf attacks in the city, mostly in recent weeks. These dogs are also important to breeders if they want to be compensated after the attack.
For Lauriane Allègre, who has her sheep in Allos, this application is also comforting: “Honestly, between our already stressful work and the predation, it’s stressful in addition to the incidents between our dogs and walkers.“.
He remembered a few years ago that he was called by the gendarmes following the complaint of a hiker who was stuck. ” It did not prove that it was my dog, he added. But every time there are more steps for us: gendarmerie declarations, behavioral tests to be carried out…” He also pointed out the possibility for breeders to find their own animals so they can avoid mixing with other herds thanks to the website.
At the tourist office in Allos, the feedback is also positive: ” Relationships among walkers are less tense and more shared. They now actually choose their journey based on the application and feel more secure “confirmed Elisabeth Berruer, director of the tourist office in Allos. And only one incident should be regretted by guard dogs, compared to five last year.
3600 users have already used the website. “ We need to report at the end of the summer on the experiment to improve the service. But we have received many requests from other municipalities and departments that are interested” welcomed the president of CCAPV.