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Wolves in France: ‘Better to scare, not kill’

More wolf shootings are to be permitted as part of a plan to control the 500 plus animals that now live in France, the government has announced.

Although wolves are a protected species, it will be possible to kill 17-19% of them instead of the current rate of 10-12%.

Aid for farmers whose animals are most often attacked is also to be improved and it will be easier for licensed hunters to kill wolves in certain areas.

This comes as wolf numbers have risen to 500 – and attacks are more frequent. In 2018, there were 3,674 wolf attacks which killed over 12,500 animals – mainly sheep. In 2017 10,200 animal deaths were blamed on wolf attacks.

Killing wolves is not a solution, said the director of the LPO wildlife association, Yves Verilhac. “The government is not looking for a way to live alongside wolves, it wants to eliminate them,” he said.

“We do not exclude the act of killing a wolf but only once we have tried everything else.

“If we shoot at them but to miss, they will learn that it is dangerous to come here and will pass that information to others. They need to be scared into understanding that it’s easier to eat a deer than a sheep.”

After being hunted to extinction in France in the 20th century, the wolf has travelled back from Italy through the Alps.

It is present in several departments in the east, southeast, and southwest. 

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