Swiss cantons cleared to cull wolf packs

Some wolf packs are being blamed for a higher frequency of livestock attacks. Keystone / Marco Schmidt

Four wolves from increasingly problematic packs can be shot to deter the others from attacking farm livestock, the Swiss authorities said on Monday.

This content was published on August 30, 2021 - 15:04

Permission for the cull has been granted by the Swiss environment ministry following complaints that the two wolf packs were attacking a greater number of sheep and cattle.

The cantons of Vaud and Valais, both in southwest Switzerland, will each shoot two wolves from the respective packs that roam the regions. In addition to keeping pack numbers under control, it is hoped the cull will keep wolves away from farming areas in future.

Earlier this month, the Swiss Farmers’ Union pointed out a rise in the number of livestock attacks in both cantons, along with the southeastern canton Graubünden. 

“It is becoming clear that the increasing number of wolves and wolf packs is endangering the Alpine economy,” the union argued. “Protective measures are on the one hand expensive and on the other not always effective.”

Wolves kill 300-500 sheep and goats per year, according to the KORA foundation, which monitors carnivores in Switzerland. It is forbidden to shoot wolves in Switzerland without first obtaining permission from the federal authorities.

Last September, voters rejected a proposal to grant cantons greater power to cull wolves that they deem problematic.

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