Surrounded by a pen full of inquisitive sheep, Leão appears slightly ill at ease. Yet big things are expected of this timid three-month-old Serra da Estrela puppy, with a name that means “lion” in Portuguese. Once fully grown (and lion-hearted) at 18 months, he should prove an invaluable companion to his new owner, helping the shepherd to protect his flock from wolf predation in northeast Portugal’s Serra de Montemuro region.
As the trailblazer in a new guard dog programme, Leão is the first Serra da Estrela puppy to be embedded with livestock by the Rewilding Portugal team. The programme has been developed as part of the LIFE WolFlux project, which aims to boost the connectivity of the endangered Portuguese Iberian wolf sub-population south of the Douro River. MORE
Header image: Staffan Widstrand/Rewilding Europe.