Nature: Wolves continue to proliferate – more livestock attacks

Wolves continue to proliferate – more livestock attacks

Two wolves in the enclosure in the Schorfheide wildlife park.  Since its return to Germany in 1998, the wolf has been slowly spreading

Two wolves in the enclosure in the Schorfheide wildlife park. Since its return to Germany in 1998, the wolf has been slowly spreading. photo

© Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

The number of wolves is growing steadily in Germany – and at the same time the number of attacks on livestock. This causes fierce debates and calls for firing, especially in “wolf states”.

The wolf has been spreading since its return Germany slowly expanding in 1998. In the 2021/2022 wolf year (May 1 to April 30), the officially confirmed number of wolf packs nationwide rose to 161 (previous year 158). The number of pairs of wolves increased to 43 (previous year 35), the number of single wolves remained almost constant at 21 (previous year 22), according to the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the Federal Documentation and Advice Center on the subject of wolves (DBBW). Monday in Bonn with.

“This is natural growth and a slightly lower increase than in previous years,” said the head of the department of zoological species protection at the BfN, Sandra Balzer. The numbers are based on surveys by the federal states with scientifically proven evidence, for example through gene traces and camera trap images, as BfN President Sabine Riewenherm emphasized.

For public discussions about the strictly protected against shooting wolf repeatedly cause attacks on livestock, especially sheep and goats. In 2021, a total of 975 wolf attacks were reported with 3374 livestock injured, missing or killed. In the previous year there were 942 attacks.

federal support

For livestock keepers in Germany, however, there are state subsidies for herd protection in almost all federal states with established wolf populations. About 1.20 meter high electric fences and – depending on the individual case – also herding dogs are recommended. A good 16.6 million euros were spent on this nationwide in 2021, according to the report. In addition, authorities paid almost half a million euros in damages to owners of in 2021 livestock.

Comprehensive herd protection should be carried out as preventively as possible before wolves The Federal Office advises getting used to the tearing of sheep and goats or even smaller cattle and foals as supposedly “easy prey”. General hunting of wolves, on the other hand, is not a suitable measure against damage to livestock from the experts’ point of view.

According to the 2021/2022 report, most wolf packs lived in Brandenburg (47), followed by Lower Saxony (34) and Saxony (31). In the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, there were two packs. Nationwide, the verifiable number of wolves in the known wolf areas for the wolf year is put at 1175, whereby the total population cannot be reliably quantified, among other things because of the many kilometers of migration of the animals. There is also no comparable figure to the previous year.

Wolves are a strictly protected species under nature protection in Germany. Shooting is prohibited unless the wolves, who are actually shy of humans, behave aggressively when they encounter humans. Then the Federal Nature Conservation Act allows a shooting – officially called “extraction”. Such a case of unprovoked aggressive wolf behavior has not occurred since 1998, according to the report.

According to the report, 148 wolves were found dead in the recorded wolf year. Most of them (102) died in traffic accidents. At least 13 were killed illegally in violation of the Animal Welfare Act.


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