Eco groups protest over wolf death sentence

An official shoot-to-kill order on a wolf which has slaughtered 44 sheep in the canton of Valais is “illegal” say wildlife groups, as the sheep were not sufficiently protected.

Eco groups protest over wolf death sentence
Photo: Mark Kent

WWF and Pro Natura are objecting to the kill order, imposed on September 1st, against the wolf known to be living in the Turtmann valley, reported newspaper the Tribune de Genève.

According to the organizations, the sheep-grazing pastures where the wolf has been seen had no protection measures in force to guard the flocks.

“Even the simplest and easiest methods of protecting flocks were not taken,” they said in a statement.

Only two of the estimated 44 sheep killed by the wolf were sufficiently protected, said the groups.

“An official order to shoot requires 15 sheep to have been killed,” it added.

What’s more, the fact that three other wolves – two males and a female – are suspected of living in the area also affects the kill order.

“In our opinion, the canton of Valais must prove that there are no young,” said the wildlife groups, adding that if a pack is present, the wolves can only be shot with the prior consent of the federal environment office.

A shoot order is valid for 60 days.

In August authorities in Valais authorized the shooting of another wolf that had killed 38 sheep in the Val d’Anniviers, a decision also condemned by the WWF, which called for better flock protection measures instead of the shooting of “a protected animal”.

Like in other European countries, wolves are enjoying a revival in Switzerland, igniting a fierce debate between wolf supporters and farmers who have lost livestock.
In January of last year, a young male wolf believed to have been shot illegally was found dead in the Calanda mountain range, near the city of Chur.
It was part of a 10-wolf pack, the first to have been spotted in Switzerland since the mid-1990s.

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