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French teen has 'near miss' with pack of wolves

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French teen has 'near miss' with pack of wolves
The wolf pack of 13 is said to be longer scared of humans. Photo: Tambako/Flickr
09:21 CEST+02:00
A teenage boy in southern France has had "the fright of his life" after he was encircled by a pack of wolves, which residents say are no longer scared of humans.
It's the stuff of nightmares. 
 
At the stroke of midnight on Friday, a 16-year-old boy called Romain was awoken by the sound of barking dogs and mooing cows at his family's property on the edge of the woods of La Blanche, not far from Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in southern France. 
 
He took a tractor and a rifle out into the cattle field to see what was making the disturbance and found himself surrounded by a pack of wolves, reported French newspaper La Provence.
 
Fearing for his life, the boy fired the rifle in the air and managed to frighten off the pack, but was left trembling for hours. 
 
The father of the boy confirmed that wolf pack - which is believed to number 13 - was becoming more of a threat in the area and could be seen rummaging through the family's bins at nights.
 
"They've been getting used to us for months. They're not scared anymore," he told the paper, adding that wolves had killed one of his calves in recent weeks.
 
 
Wolf numbers are a growing concern for farmers in south eastern France, where they kill thousands of livestock each year.
 
The animal's resurgence has become a divisive issue in France with wildlife campaigners arguing that farmers have to adapt to life alongside wolves.
 
Indeed, the Ouest France newspaper questioned whether the story could have been fabricated to put weight behind farmers' pleas to further cull the wolf population.
 
Wolves, which officially died out in France in the thirties, are now a protected species after they crossed the border from Italy and repopulated south eastern France in the nineties. In the areas where farm animals have been regularly attacked, special hunts have been permitted and a maximum of 24 wolves are allowed to be culled each year.
 
Wildlife officials estimate that there are around 250 wolves in France, 90 percent of them in the Alps, and scatterings of others in the east and south-west of France, including the eastern Pyrenees.
 

 
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