Wolf hunt authorized in southern France

The prefect of the Var in south-eastern France has authorized the hunting of a wolf following a spate of attacks on sheep herds in the region.

Wolf hunt authorized in southern France
Photo: Wikimedia
The permit to hunt the wolf came into force on Monday and stretches to September 19th, according to the local Var Matin daily. 
The decision to order the hunt has been described as a last resort in the battle to protect livestock from the predators.
"We have reached the final stage," Var prefect Paul Mourier told the newspaper.
"The various protection measures and defences implemented over the past few years have not been enough."
In the seven months to July 31st some 201 animals have died in a total of 85 wolf attacks in the Var, which is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in the south-east corner of France.
The decision was taken after a recent acceleration in attacks, with a further 72 sheep taken in an attack on Friday.
The Var is the second department to recently allow a wolf hunt, following a decision by the prefecture of the Hautes-Alpes after a similarly bloody 2012. 
According to the website some 216 animals have fallen victim to 62 attacks in the department.
Some 99 percent of the attacks in the Var have taken place in Canjuers, although the hunt has also been allowed in the municipalities of d'Aiguines, Chateaudouble, Comps-sur-Artuby, La Roque Esclapon, Montferrat and Mons et Seillans.
France's wolf population has grown to around 200 animals since being re-introduced in 1992, mainly in the south-east but also scattered across the Pyrenees. 
Only six animals have been legally hunted since 2004. 

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Inquiry over French cops’ ‘apéritifs on the job’

Police in the town of Cogolin in south-eastern France are being investigated over claims they regularly enjoy sinking a few apéritifs whilst working. The cops' drinking habits only emerged after their chief was caught drunk-driving in his patrol car without a license earlier this summer.

Inquiry over French cops' 'apéritifs on the job'
Drinking on the job? Cops in the south-eastern French town of Cogolin stand accused of "losing control" and having too many aperatifs while at work. File photo: Rolye/Flickr

The Inspection Générale de la police nationale (IGPN), France’s internal police investigation unit, has opened an inquiry into alleged widespread drinking on the job by cops in the town of Cogolin, in the department of Var, it was reported this week.

Several within the force have been accused of indulging too enthusiastically in that great French tradition – the 'apéritif', or 'apero' as it is called.

The officers' reported love of a drink only emerged when the department’s chief was pulled over in mid-June during a routine traffic stop, According to the local police officers’ union, SNPM-FO.

He was found to be driving his patrol car without proper identification, and when tested, had a blood-alcohol beyond the legal limit.

This revelation, however, has proven only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the misdeeds of municipal police in the town of Cogolin.

“Everything seems to be an excuse for organising a drink; the swearing in of a new officer, local festivals, and so on,” a representative from the local SNPM-FO union told regional daily Var Matin.

“They have an apéritif on Tuesday, then on Friday, and then on Saturday morning,” the union rep said, adding his voice to widespread claims that the police department in the town is out of control and has lost the respect of the people of Cogolin.

The local cops, however, appear not to be entirely unified in their alleged proclivity for partying.

The officer in charge of the department’s night-time division is also being investigated by the IGPN for allegedly engaging in secret video surveillance of his underlings within the forces of law and order in Cogolin.

Both he, and the chief of police, are out on sick leave, though neither has been suspended during the internal investigation, according to Var Matin.