Wolf hunting can begin – In Switzerland, twelve entire packs of wolves can be shot – News

  • Twelve entire wolf packs are allowed in Switzerland be shot down.
  • The Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU) examined the cantons’ requests and approved 12 of 13.
  • The animals may be hunted and shot from December 1st.

The cantons of Graubünden, Valais, Vaud, St. Gallen and Ticino have submitted applications to regulate wolf packs. The Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU) has announced that it has held discussions with all cantons.

Ticino application rejected

It approves the requests to remove 12 entire packs. However, it cannot agree to the canton of Ticino’s request to remove the entire pack in Valle Onsernone because there have been no cracks in protected situations in the last twelve months. However, the Bafu allows preventative regulation of the pack: the canton of Ticino is allowed to shoot two thirds of the young wolves.

For five other packs (Val Colla, Carvina, Jatzhorn, Rügiul and Mont Tendre), the cantons of Ticino, Graubünden and Vaud could also do this, as they have requested.

Council of Europe upholds complaint

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The Federal Council’s plan is incompatible with the Bern Convention, the wolf protection organizations CHWolf and Avenir Loup Lynx Jura (German: Zukunft Wolf Luchs Jura) announced on Friday. The Bern Convention is an agreement on the conservation of European wild plants and animals and their natural habitats. Switzerland has signed this convention.

The animal protection organization Avenir Loup Lynx Jura has filed a complaint with the Council of Europe because, in their opinion, the Bern Convention is not being complied with. This was found to be permissible by the Strasbourg authorities, it said.

Animals may be shot as a precautionary measure

According to the amended hunting regulations, wolves can be shot preventively from December 1st to January 31st, i.e. before they have caused any damage. The hope of the measure is not least that the wolves will become more shy.

After the Bafu has approved the cantonal requests, the cantons can now issue their orders for the shootings. According to the Bafu, only gamekeepers or specially trained hunters are allowed to kill the wolves.

Switzerland currently has 32 wolf packs

According to the federal government, there are currently 32 wolf packs with a total of around 300 wolves roaming around in Switzerland. In 2020 there were still eleven packs with a good 100 wolves.

The number of livestock killed by wolves rose from 446 in 2019 to 1,480 last year. This is particularly a problem for alpine farming with sheep and goats. The wolves also killed cattle, alpacas and once a donkey.

  Two wolves in Upper Valais, taken in November 2016.


Two wolves in Upper Valais, taken in November 2016.


Realistic goal: slow down growth

According to experts, eliminating lone wolves and entire packs is no easy task. Rough terrain, winter weather and the animals’ large range are likely to make it difficult to find the wolves.

According to the Federal Office for the Environment, it is unlikely that all wolves will be killed by the end of January as approved by the federal government. However, it can be assumed that the growth of the wolf population – as intended by the Federal Council – will be severely slowed down, according to the Bafu.

In the coming years, the cantons will intervene preventively in the wolf population from September to the end of January. According to the information, they must submit new applications each time.

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