I want you all to take a moment and think about the country Italy. What are the first five images that come to mind? I’m sure many of you thought of Paris, Rome, the Eiffel tower, delectable wine, incredible cuisine, and a long, rich human history to name a few. Probably the last thing you’d thought about was a thriving population of apex predators. Uh, Brooke, say what? Yes, you heard me right. Italy is home to thousands of wolves. Beach here, mega metropolis there, and wolves everywhere in between.
Italy isn’t the only European country with a thriving wolf population, and, as with every human-predator story, living with wolves isn’t without conflict. To teach us all about Europe’s wolves, today we are sitting down with Valeria Salvatori, PhD, European wolf expert. Valeria knew from the moment she met her mentor, Professor Boitani, that she wanted to study and work in wildlife management. During university, she performed research in remote parts of the Andean mountains to understand Chilean fox behavior, and continued on to projects in the Masai Mara and Netherlands. But as time went on, she missed her family and home, and reconnected with her mentor Professor Boitani to decide on a PhD project closer to Italy. This is when wolves entered her life. For her PhD, Valeria studied wolves in the Carpathian Mountains of eastern Europe and has worked with wolves, and their human counterparts, ever since.
Valeria and I have a marvelous time discussing:
- Her journey that led from studying predators across the globe to focusing on wolves closer to her Italian home
- The history of the wolf across Europe
- Management of wolves in many countries across the continent
- How she brought together all stakeholders to make a wolf management plan
- Issues with politics
- And what she hopes to see in the future for wolves across Europe
Alright, everyone. Please enjoy this thought-provoking conversation with Valeria.
Listen to this episode.
Watch this episode on YouTube.
Valeria in the Field
Links & Resources
Resources Mentioned in the Show
- Members of the EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores
- Institute of Applied Ecology (Istituto di Ecologia Applicata, IEA)
- IUCN SSC Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe Specialist Group
- Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe Specialist Group
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