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CyberShield donates 800 euros to FAPAS

In early September 2023, Christian and Adela were in the Somiedo National Park in the Cantabrian Mountains in Spain. There, they met with Roberto Hartasánchez, the president of the NGO FAPAS (Fondo para la Protección de los Animales Salvajes).1. During a private tour, the two received a very good on-site overview and a lot of interesting and unfortunately also sad information. 

Since its founding in 1982, FAPAS's motto has been: Financial independence, practical solutions, and social awareness. With these parallels to CyberShield, one's heart is warmed. 

But why is an organisation like FAPAS even needed in the Cantabrian Mountains?

FAPAS states: "In general, the wolf is blamed for all the problems that agriculture and, more generally, rural and impoverished areas face. Wolf attacks on livestock are particularly effective in promoting a negative attitude among rural populations towards anything related to the conservation of wildlife and nature protection." The bears, eagles, and vultures face similar challenges. Therefore, despite the FFH protection status.5 The EU is hunting these animals without authorisation. 

However, for a healthy ecosystem, we need all animals, including predators. At the same time, we need fewer interventions by humans, who are further and further restricting the habitats of many animals. In some areas, humans have completely eradicated certain species, such as wolves, bears, and vultures in Germany. FAPAS states: "Over the past 35 years, we have managed to prevent the extinction of bears in the Cantabrian Mountains, to allow wolves to survive in protected areas, nature reserves, and biosphere reserves, and to stop the vulture population from being further decimated by poisoned baits." 

What exactly does Fapas do to protect animals?

  • Planting (and protecting) fruit trees for the bears 
  • Patrols with specially trained dogs to detect poisoned baits 
  • Reporting poachers  
  • Educating the population 
  • Training for livestock farmers 
  • Scientific monitoring to check the actual stock and its development 
  • Development of concepts to protect farm animals from attacks (especially bees) 

A little digression...

Just because we can do things doesn't mean that it's good to do them. In the context of the article, one might think, for example, of the use of firearms that are not for self-defense purposes, or the laying of poisoned baits with the intention of killing innocent living beings. In a broader sense you could call it slavery, Forced missionary work or the exploitation of Third world countries questioning is in order. The list of things we can do but perhaps should not is very long. The fact that this is written in the present tense is also intended as a reminder that all these terrible things still occur today. exist! CyberShield believes that humans have a moral responsibility to care for the weaker and to advocate for a better and more peaceful world.! 

CyberShield is doing this at various levels: 

  • We signed the WIN Charter in 2022 out of conviction. 
  • We launched our school project in 2023 
  • We donate older but still functional IT devices to Labdoo 
  • We support the Lebenshof Tierlieben with 500,-/month for 1 year 
  • We promoted culture in rural areas by being the main sponsor of a photography competition for local residents in 2023. 
  • We have carried out clean-ups 
  • Our perspective is also reflected in the composition of our team, of which we are very proud: we are a diverse group of people on two continents, shaped by different religions, cultures, and beliefs. We discuss, we laugh, we work together - but above all, we respect each other. For CyberShield, this is what the norm looks like. However, the reality elsewhere paints a different picture: religious wars, economic wars, exploitation, or persecution of minorities (both human and animal), etc. Therefore, CyberShield would like to emphasize once again how happy we are to have such a dedicated and peaceful team! You are the best! 
  • And here is our latest commitment:
    In September, we donated 800 euros to FAPAS for new wildlife cameras 

FAPAS already had wildlife cameras. However, after these cameras not only captured animals and poachers but also scientific staff who almost wiped out the entire wolf pack in an attempt to tag them (here is the background story: https://vimeo.com/837107925?share=copy ... the wildlife cameras suddenly disappeared. FAPAS now intends to acquire new and better cameras that are untraceable. 

Klar, dass wir hier unterstützen! Die Wildtierkameras leisten einen wichtigen Beitrag zur wissenschaftlichen Arbeit von FAPAS und zum Aufspüren von Wilderern. 

We are doing a lot to protect bears and wolves, but who protects us from these animals?  

A legitimate question. We have compiled some information here:

What should I do if I encounter a wolf?2

  • First and foremost, one should be aware of the extraordinary luck one has at that moment! Wolves are very shy animals that avoid contact with humans. Therefore, encountering one is a great event! 
  • It is probably still a young and therefore curious animal. 
  • Take out your phone slowly and calmly to take photos of this unique encounter. Enjoy the sight! 
  • If you do feel uncomfortable: make yourself tall and clap your hands/make noises. 
  • Under no circumstances should you feed them or leave food scraps lying around. This would cause wolves to lose their fear of humans, and that would be a death sentence for them. 
  • Since the return of wolves to Germany in 1998, there has not been a single attack on humans. For comparison: in 2022 alone, 6 people in Germany were killed by hunters, and 5 others were injured by them.3 Incidentally, around 200 people are struck by lightning in Germany every year.6
  • So nobody needs to be afraid of wolves. Nevertheless, we should respect these predators and not harass them.  

 

What should I do if I encounter a bear?4

  • Bears are very shy animals that avoid contact with humans. Therefore, encountering one is very unlikely. 
  • It's best to stay on the hiking or mountain biking trails in bear country and make "normal" noises. A bear bell is also an option because most encounters occur when the bear is surprised. It's helpful to enjoy nature with a keen awareness and, for example, to avoid using headphones. 
  • In an encounter, it's important to behave defensively so that the bear doesn't feel threatened. Unlike wolves, which would run away, bears may opt for the "attack is the best defense" strategy (even if it's just a mock attack).  
  • Remain calm at all times—neither appearing fearful nor aggressive. Continue calmly or move away from the bear. Under no circumstances should you run away. Bears can reach speeds of up to 55 km/h. The average person can run about 12 km/h (the fastest human in the world can reach 44.72 km/h).  
  • If the bear does attack, lay on the ground on your stomach.  
  • Never feed them or leave leftovers lying around. As a result, bears lose their fear of humans and that would be their death sentence. 
  • In the last 20 years, there have been 8 bear attacks recorded in the Alps. The risk is therefore very manageable. Nevertheless, one should not provoke contact.

Yours Adela & Christian

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