As we are occupying more and more wildlife habitat, wildlife gets closer to our settlements in Europe. The fresh example is from Italy, where the wolf killed on the edge of Turin has sparked fears that the animals could be adapting to urban life. The report is based on Italian media articles.

The 18-month-old male wolf was run over by a driver between Airasca and Volvera, south of Turin, Torino Today reported. The driver then picked up the animal and drove it to a veterinary clinic in the city, where staff alerted the authorities, the news website said.

Although wolves are protected under EU law, their presence in Italy has been a point of contention in recent months. It is estimated that between 600 and 800 wolves live in the Italian peninsula. In January, farmers in Tuscany snared and killed wolves, dumping their bodies in villages and towns in protest at their livestock being hunted by the animals.

The two most recent victims of the massacre were caught in illegal snares in the Scansano hills before being shot – and then left abandoned in the street, bringing the total number of wolves killed in the region since November 2013 to at least eight, La Repubblica reported. Two wolf-dog hybrids were also killed last week in Saturnia and Manciano.

Local police are investigating the killings, which violate both European and Italian law and have been strongly decried by animal rights campaigners with 1,500 animal activists gathering in Grosseto for a protest against the wolf killings.

Marco Sabatini, vice-president of the Grosseto province, told La Repubblica:

“For some time we have led programmes both for the protection of wolves and the safeguarding of farms against attacks from predators. I strongly condemn those who choose to carry out their own illegal form of justice by killing the wolves.”

He said the perpetrators were guilty of “gratuitous violence”, adding that with the public dumping of the wolves’ bodies, the killings were an attempt to intimidate those working for projects such as Ibriwolf, which seeks to protect wolves and wild dogs.

The main reason for these brutal killings is frustration over the increased number of sheep and other livestock being killed. The main reason for this is the large herds and the loss of traditional protective measures like the Pyrenees dogs to scare of the wolves.

Italian law compensates farmers if they lose livestock to wolves, but this can take several months to come through, leading many to take matters into their own hands.

As it looks we need more wilderness to decrease human and wildlife conflicts in Europe. Otherwise Little Red Riding Hood is going to turn into the monster!

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About Author

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

2 Comments

  1. Two remarks:
    1. In Italy, specially in centre and south of the Country, there are thousand of free ranging dogs. They do not fear humans, unlike the wolves. They are dangerous for livestock. But when a farmer finds a killed animal, the culprit is ever the wolf.
    2. In Italy, State and Regions refund wild game and wolves damages.
    Thank you for attention.

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