Wolves in Switzerland
15th August 2010
One was shot earlier this month after an increasing number of attacks on farm animals. Wolves are making something of a return to The Alps. PlanetSKI reports.
A male wolf was shot in the Valais canton after the authorities gave permission for the shooting.
The wolf was shot near a herd of cattle and was deemed to pose a threat.
Animal rights campaigners are said to be critical of the action.
It follows attacks on cattle near the ski resort of Crans-Montana as we reported earlier this month on PlanetSKI.
The authorities have given permission for the shooting of wolves that are known to have attacked farm animals.
Critics question how hunters can know this, as one wolf looks pretty much like another, but DNA tests carried out on the dead wolf apparently show it was responsible for killing sheep in the area in July.
Wolves were driven out of Switzerland in the 19th century but they returned around a decade ago and have been breeding.
It’s believed they came over the border from neighbouring Italy.
The dead wolf is thought to have a mate and to have fathered some cubs.
Wolves are a protected species but there are increasing calls for them to be culled and numbers to be restricted.
Under the Berne Convention (1979) and the EU “habitats” agreement of 1992, wolves are listed as an endangered and protected species and it is illegal to kill them
Many people do not even realise that wolves roam in the wild in the Alps.Experts say there are around 200 and their numbers are growing steadily. Most of them are in the remote parts of the French Alps.
Dozens of sheep were killed last year in Switzerland.
However animal rights supporters claim the farmers simply don’t protect their animals properly and keep them in unsecured enclosures without the protection of a guard dog that would simply frighten the wolf away.
They say the wolf is a taboo subject and many people do not see them as an animal with a right to existence.
France has already had a limited cull of the wolves that have colonised the French Alps in recent years.
In 1994, 192 sheep were killed by wolves in France.
By 2002 the death toll had risen to 2,800.
Since then, killings have been reduced by the introduction of protective measures.
The one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that the number of wolves in the Alps will rise over the next few years and not enough is known about their behaviour.
Meanwhile it is not just in Europe that the wold population is on the rise.
According to this story we have seen in The LA Times there are now many wolves in the Northern Rockies.
There are now more than 1,700 wolves in 242 packs according to the latest figures.
It being American there have been many court cases and legal wranglings to get them re-introduced and protected.
In a bizarre twist on the one hand they are flourishing but they are also just about to be listed as an endangered species.
Some facts in this article were taken from a PlanetSKI article we published last year.