Thirteen more wolf packs in Germany
The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the Documentation and Counseling Center of the Federation of the Wolf (DBBW) published new numbers on the wolf in Germany. Since 2000, authorities found more than 200 dead wolves, of which 140 wolves were killed by traffic. Despite this, the German wolf population is growing. The estimates state that there are now 60 wolf packs, 13 more than in 2016.
Although the population is growing and the wolf holds its protected status, poaching continues to occur. People poached at least 26 wolves since 2000, with 5 individuals in the last year. The precise number of individuals remains open for discussion. The BfN and DBBW identified 150 to 160 adults, while the Minister of Environment recently called numbers of 650 individuals. According to BfN and DBBW the number of young wolfs is difficult to count. There are many discussions and opinions on the returning wolf in Germany. President of the BfN, Beate Jessel,
“It was important that people respected wolves as independent and free animals and refrain from feeding, for example to take photos. Habituation to humans could otherwise lead to dangerous situations. Instead of discussing an “upper limit” for wolves in Germany, it should be about how animal husbandry could be better protected, stressed Jessel. There is still enough room for the wolf to spread in Germany.”
Norwegian wolves can live another year
The wolf culling in Norway is a delicate situation. Back in September 2016, Norway authorised killing 47 of the 68 wolves in Norway. In December 2016, the Norwegian government lowered this number to 32 kills. In the end, the culling of 2016 was cancelled and the 4 Norwegian wolf packs were allowed to live another year.
This year the Norwegian government authorised culling of 50 individuals (90% of the population) again. After the opening of the hunting season, hunters already killed 6 wolves. The Oslo District Court has now stopped the culling of the remaining 46 wolves, after requests from WWF-Norway. Recent studies showed that the culling will have a critical impact on the genetic viability of the Norwegian wolf population. The Norwegian wolves thus live another year and could face the risk of culling next year, again.
French wolf packs increased to 52
The French organisation ONCFS, which authorised killing of 3 wolf cubs earlier this year, presented the latest numbers on the wolves in France. There are now 63 zones with permanent presence of wolves, including 52 wolf packs. Reproduction was recorded in 34 different areas, indicating that the French wolf population continues to grow.
Austrian petition: A chance for the wolf
The Austrian Nature Protection Association (ÖNB) started a petition called ‘A chance for the wolf’. The Naturschutzbund combined the petition’s kickoff with a press conference in Vienna. It focuses on raising awareness and supports the livestock owners’ need for protection measures. In different countries across Europe, livestock owners protest against the wolf’s return. However, the impact of wolves on livestock losses is still small. Losses to wolves are still 1/10th of the losses due to diseases, extreme weather and falling of livestock.