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Wolves: France wants to shoot them while Switzerland celebrates new-borns

Wolf pack: conflicts with humans may decrease as the animals are more closely bound to one territory and can hunt wild animals more efficiently as a group. © © *Michelle*(xena2542) / www.flickr.com

In Switzerland they are celebrating the first new generation of wolves. But where should these wolves go? A national park in the south of France has initiated a debate on this topic - with consequences for the Alps.
In September the first Swiss wolf cubs were born on the border between the cantons of Graubünden and St. Gallen. Wolves disappeared from Switzerland 150 years ago, with proof of the first animals re-establishing themselves only coming in 1995. A restrictive policy compared to the French and Italian Southern Alps ensured that it was a very long time before Swiss wolves bred and were thus able to form packs, according to the "Wolf Group Switzerland" organisation, which believes that the formation of packs is positive for humans: wolves hunt more efficiently in groups than as individuals, thus reducing the pressure on domestic animal herds. They also tend to live in specific territories, which facilitates the protection of herds.
In the French Alps the return of the wolf has so far been successful. In the middle of October, however, the Administrative Council of the Cévennes National Park in southern France decided by a large majority that wolves are not compatible with the animal husbandry practised in the Park; it therefore intends to permit shooting in defence even in the Park's core zone. Two farmers' organisations have now also asked for the example of the Cévennes National Park to be followed in the protected areas of the Vanoise National Park and the Bauges and Chartreuse Regional Park, also located in the Alps. But where should wolves - internationally protected animals - live if not in the protected areas?
Source and further information: www.oncfs.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Bulletin_Reseau (fr), http://gruppe-wolf.ch/dateien/Medienmitteilungen, www.pronatura.ch/wolf, www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2012/11/03 (fr)