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Rise in wolf attacks alarms farmers

Matthew Warren · 26 Jul 2011, 08:09

Published: 26 Jul 2011 09:34 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Jul 2011 08:09 GMT+02:00

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An increase in the number of wolf attacks this year has led to calls for tough action to cut numbers.

A total of 1,300 animals are reported to have been killed in 118 separate wolf attacks so far this year, all in the south east of the country. There are believed to be between 150 and 200 wolves in France and the population is growing.

The highest number of attacks were in the Alpes-Maritimes region, which borders Italy. The wolf was reintroduced to France from Italy in 1992. 

Farmers now claim their spread is getting out of control and that measures need to be taken to cut the population down. By law, only six wolves a year can be legally killed.

"There are attacks everywhere and we have to stop protecting wolves," Bernard Navet of the agricultural organisation FDSEA told daily newspaper Aujourd'hui.

The association claimed that the wolves are now nearing major conurbations, such as Grenoble, where attacks have occurred just 20 kilometres from the city.

Officials in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region approved a wolf-hunting licence on Monday after a weekend attack that left more than 70 sheep dead in the Ubaye valley. The wolf killed 10 sheep and a further 62 died after jumping into a ravine in panic.

Ecology minister Natalie Kosciusko-Morizet said on Sunday that she would meet a delegation of shepherds and elected officials this week to talk about intervention.

Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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