Tuesday, 25 August 2009

In The Land of Wolves

Living within the Abruzzo National Park, it does not take us long to get to the Wolf Centre in Popoli. This is where we headed at the weekend with some friends. It was my second visit and I enjoyed the walk and guided tour immensly. Read about "Canis Lupus Italicus" from my first visit last year.

Abruzzo Earthquake- a Brave Survivor
Our charming and very knowledgeable guide came from Aquila, the city devastated by the earthquake on April 6th this year. I asked her about how it had affected her life. She was lucky to have survived the impact of the earthquake despite the full force of a big wardrobe falling on top of her in the middle of the terrible tremors. She was too busy helping other members of her family who were injured to care much about what she was suffering that fateful night.

During our walk up the path into the woods where the wolves were waiting for us, she spoke quietly and with great dignity about the horrors of that night. Her house was destroyed and her life has changed irrevocably as a result. She told me that coming in to work at the Wolf Centre was a blessed relief from the chaos and sadness that pervades her city. I admired her stoical approach to life. She has seen so much suffering and yet life carries on as it has to.


popps said...

In the Pyrenees they have re-introduced Bears - seems to me to be brilliant but there is a lot of local (sheep farmer) resistance.
Any anti-wolf sentiment in the mountains there?

LLJB said...

Yes, I believe so. Each year, there are reports of some wolves, bears and other endangered wildlife being killed. Whether it's at the hands of hunters, farmers or malicious members of the public, I have no idea. Any predator that is released back into the environment is bound to be seen as a threat by holders of livestock.

For over 2,000 years, the Abruzzo shepherds have bred the Pastore Abruzzese dogs to specifically defend the flocks against wolves and bears. However, in the last 50 years the greatest threat to flocks has been theft by people.