En the mountains, it is better to plan your outing. Before embarking on a hike, we equip ourselves, we consult the weather forecast, we recognize the route and, from now on, we identify the location of the herds. in the mountain pastures”, explains Bertrand Selosse, pastoral mediator in Allos, a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
Its mission, since 2018, has been to pacify relations between tourists and shepherds… and their guard dogs. “More and more people were calling me to find out where the herds were in order to avoid them,” he says.
A necklace on the ringleaders
In fact, every year, encounters between guard dogs – patou or Anatolian shepherds – and tourists, who are not always good connoisseurs of the mountains, trigger incidents. In 2021, the Center for Pastoral Studies and Achievements Alpes-Méditerranée (Cerpam) recorded 15 bites on pet dogs, 24 “pinches” and 31 bites on people in the 8 departments of the Southern Alps (Var, Alpes- Maritimes, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Isère, Drôme, Savoie, Haute-Savoie).
In his mountain pasture, Bertrand Selosse has therefore imagined an application that would allow tourists to locate, almost in real time, the location of the herds. He spoke about it to the community of communes Alpes-Provence-Verdon (CCAPV) to which Allos, which employs him, belongs. Thus was born the Pastorando site tested for the first time this year.
Accessible without downloading, from the Internet browser of your mobile phone, this cartography makes it possible to geolocate the herds “thanks to a collar worn by leading ewes”, explains Morvan Menou, project manager at the CCAPV. The herds are located automatically every hour and materialized by circles on the map. The Pastorando user’s position is simulated by a red marker. The site also provides information on what to do in the event of an encounter with guard dogs and allows you to report any incidents that may occur to the pastoral mediator.
“People only asked for that”
The leading ewes – two per herd – are obviously equipped with the agreement of the breeders who, too, have every interest in seeing that the conflicts of use in the mountains are reduced. Because, notes Bertrand Selosse, “in our mountain pastures, the main concern of the shepherds is no longer predation by wolves but cohabitation with tourists”.
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“The problems appear between June and October, when the 13 herds, or 10,000 ewes, are in the summer pastures around Allos with the essential guard dogs and the massive arrival of tourists”, summarizes Maurice Laugier, president of the CCAPV. Elected officials, faced with repeated conflicts of use, had to “find a solution”.
Between mid-July and mid-August, 1,600 unique visitors consulted Pastorando. Already, Maurice Laugier is receiving requests to extend the mapped area to neighboring valleys. “People were only asking for that”, welcomes Bertrand Selosse. “It’s an important tool, but everyone has to keep talking to each other,” summarizes Maurice Laugier. Tourists must understand pastoralism and learn the right gestures towards dogs and breeders must accept that the mountain remains accessible to all. »