Io non ho paura del lupo, or "I am not afraid of the wolf" in English, is an Italian charity whose aim is to ensure the conservation of the wolf in Italy and Europe and its coexistence with human activities. The organisation carries out various initiatives dedicated to mitigating the conflict between wolves and stakeholders, disseminating information on the issue and combating misinformation about this fascinating predator of our forests. It brings together farmers, breeders, simple enthusiasts and nature professionals for the protection of nature and its inhabitants.
Wolves are a vital keystone species in a healthy ecosystem. By regulating prey populations wolves enable many other species to flourish. Wolves initiate a domino effect (known as trophic cascade) so support healthy populations of birds, beaver, fish, and butterflies. Without predators such as wolves the system fails to support a natural level of biodiversity.
It is important to protect wolves - it is estimated that about 300 wolves are killed in Italy every year. Poaching is often practiced in silence, so it can be assumed that the numbers may be much higher.
In order to protect wolves Io non ho paura del lupo is focused on two main areas; eliminating poaching and promoting a positive image of the wolf in order to reduce conflict between wolves and humans. They disseminate good coexistence practices through the production of educational and informational videos and collaborating with farmers to resolve their problems whilst protecting the wolves. To tackle poaching they carry out field trips to research and map the signs of wolf presence identifying traps, snares and poisoned bait, which are reported to the authorities.
Wolves status as a "keystone species" and its influence on the environment has been marvelled at before: they were eradicated from Yellowstone National Park in the 1970s, and reintroduced in 1995. Within a decade, the elk population had halved, and without excess elk, aspen, willow and cottonwood trees sprang up. In turn, the number of woodland birds, beaver and bison increased.