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Wolves released for preventive shooting for five months

Updated at 27 Mar 2024 3:10 pm

The cantons will be allowed to shoot wolves for five months before they cause any damage. The Federal Council's new hunting ordinance also provides for interventions in other protected species such as ibex and beavers.

The preventive shooting of wolves by the cantons should be permitted every year between September 1 and January 31. In the remaining months, the cantons can regulate wolf packs that are causing damage.

In both cases, certain requirements must be met. The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) must approve the cantonal applications for regulation. If individual wolves pose a threat to humans, the FOEN's approval is not required.

This is the result of the draft of the revised Hunting Ordinance sent out for consultation on Wednesday. The consultation period runs until July 5. The ordinance is due to come into force on February 1, 2025.

It specifies the amendments to the Hunting Act made by Parliament. In particular, the amendments are intended to mitigate conflicts between alpine farming and wolves.

More cantonal powers for livestock protection

In addition to preventive wolf culls and interventions in the case of beavers and ibex, the ordinance reorganizes livestock protection and the prevention and compensation of beaver damage to infrastructure. The cantons will be given more powers in the area of livestock protection and administrative procedures will be simplified.

In addition, there is financial aid for dealing with so-called conflict species, a national inventory of wildlife corridors of supra-regional importance, money for habitat protection in federal hunting ban areas and more advice for the cantons in the event of conflicts between humans and wild animals.

According to the Federal Council, the aim is to implement both the concerns of livestock farming and the protection of wild mammals and birds.

38 wolves killed preventively

In order to quickly mitigate the conflicts between alpine farming and wolves, the state government allowed the preventive shooting of wolves as an early measure for a limited period from November 1, 2023. Between December and January, this led to the shooting of 38 wolves across the country.

This corresponds to just under half of the culls approved by the FOEN. According to current estimates, 30 wolf packs and around 250 wolves still live in Switzerland. The originally approved shooting of twelve entire packs failed.

The effect of the culls can only be assessed in the coming alpine summer. The federal government sees wolf control as an ongoing task. Parliament provided around CHF 7.5 million this year for central herd protection in wolf areas.


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