The wolf shot near Chur in April is definitely a hybrid. A novelty for Switzerland.
The result of the genetic analysis is here: The animal shot about two and a half months ago in the Chur Rhine Valley was a wolf hybrid. The canton of Graubünden confirmed this on Monday with reference to corresponding studies by the University of Lausanne and a center for wildlife genetics in Hesse.
The wolfhound was shot at the end of March. The federal hunting law stipulates that if a hybrid is suspected, the animal is “removed”. The animal near Chur attracted attention due to its particularly light coloration. Even then, the responsible office for hunting and fishing reported the suspicion of hybridization and initiated the genetic tests after the shooting.
Not the first case, but first kill
It is the first case of a wolf hybrid being killed in Switzerland, but not the first appearance of a wolfhound. “There was a study on this three years ago. This showed that a very small part of the wolf population showed traces of earlier dog crossings,” explains Arno Puorger, academic employee for large carnivores at the Graubünden Office for Hunting and Fishing.
It cannot be ruled out that a hybrid will also immigrate to Switzerland in the future.
Puorger cannot say exactly where the animal came from in the Chur Rhine Valley. But: The wolf part of the genome of the hybrid comes from an Italian population. One must also expect the occurrence of wolfhounds in the future. “We know that there are several packs with crossed dogs in northern Italy. That’s why you can’t rule out the possibility of a hybrid immigrating to Switzerland in the future,” explains Puorger.
That’s why they shoot if hybrids are suspected
Even then, if hybridization is suspected, the shooting should follow. The reason for this is species protection. “The problem is the genes that are carried from the dog into the wolf population,” says Puorger. It is still unknown what impact this will have. That’s why the motto is: consistently remove the animal to prevent reproduction.
Another wolf hit and killed on the Bern autobahn
A wolf was hit by a car on Sunday night on the A8 motorway near Spiez BE and killed. Which animal it is is currently being investigated.
The cantonal administration announced on Monday that game guards and the police had recovered the animal and taken it to the Institute for Fish and Wildlife Health at the University of Bern. It will take a few weeks for DNA test results to be available.
It is not the first time that a wolf has died on a freeway in the canton of Berne: On March 10 of this year, such an animal was run over on the A6 freeway near Allmendingen BE.
What will happen to the dead wolfhound has not yet been determined. It can be assumed that the carcass will be prepared and made accessible to the public, according to the Graubünden Office for Hunting and Fishing.