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Sheep herding South Tirol

For thousands of years farmers have been herding their sheep between the Oetztal Valley in Austria and the Schnalstal Valley in South Tirol Italy.

Twice a year the animals must make the long arduous walk over the Hochjoch Pass and the Niederjoch Pass at an altitude of around 3000 meters in a high alpine region covered by glaciers. During the late Fall, Winter and Spring the sheep, numbering about 10,000, stay in the lower altitude Schnals Valley and during the warmer Summer months they are free to graze on the lush green grass in Austria.

The term “Transhumanz” is used to denote this special kind of herding in mountainous regions around the world. Similar herding practices take place in Spain, southern France, the Caucus mountains and in Scandinavia. This “Transhumanz” in Tirol is part of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage
list since 2011.

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