The wolf in Lozère
Since dawn of times the wolf exerts an incredible fascination on men. Even today, it unleashes passions and causes a divide between its supporters and those who refuse its comeback on the territory. Some consider its presence incompatible with agropastoral activity, while others believe that the great predator has its place. In a territory deeply rooted in agropastoralism, its place in Lozère leads to a debate that crystallizes tensions.
"Best Enemy of Man", the wolf has been associated with many legends for millennia. It is also the first domesticated animal by man, at least 33,000 years ago, to gradually become the dog we know today. It was once part of Lozère’s inhabitants daily life, and subject of many frightening tales and stories. It appears, however, that the number of attacks on man were extremely rare, and that these probably occurred during the long, icy winters, or when the incessant wars provided them corpses without burial that gave them the taste of human flesh. Still, on the Aubrac wild plateau, the dark forests that hosted packs of wolves seemed very hostile to the lonely traveler. Imagine yourself back then crossing this wild territory at nightfall, to the sound of howling rising at moonlight...
The wolf had almost entirely disappeared from Lozère in the 1930s, decimated by the population that considered it harmful. Officially, the last wolf in Lozère was killed on June 20, 1977 in the Salces commune by a farmer. Italian wolves then returned to France via the Alps and gradually spread over French territory.
The wolf is found on many continents. Like all other subspecies, the European grey wolf has a particularly developed social life. It lives in packs of 4 to 6 individuals on average, spread over a territory of 200 to 300 square km. This pack is very hierarchical: it is led by a monogamous "dominant" couple, who will remain together for the rest of their lives. In the wild, the grey wolf's lifespan is between 5 and 6 years, its death being most often caused by hunting or other wolves, while in captivity they can sometimes reach over 15 years.
PARC DES LOUPS DU GEVAUDAN
The Gévaudan wolf park lies in Margeride at the foot of Aubrac at over 1000 metres altitude. What's particularly interesting about Gévaudan wolf park, apart from watching wolves, is trying to get to know the animal as it really is: getting rid of or lessening any fear associated with them over the past centuries and changing the way people who come here see them hoping their perceptions have moved on. The park also has over 15 hectares closed off where more scientific research is being done.
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