I have found a very interesting article written in the website of the European Wilderness Society on the Wolf in Germany. Access to original source here.
The story is not new to those who work with large carnivores in human dominated environments. Some part of the society asks to protect this icon of the wilderness while others are lobbying for legal killing.
The previous research done on this topic shows that legal killing will not help to diminish ilegal killing of the species nor reduce the livestock losses. Where there are large carnivores and free-ranging unprotected livestock, there will be always a conflict. We must assume it. The goals (everybody´s goal) should be to diminish such losses while keeping viable populations of these carnivore that are healthy and populated enough to have their role in the ecosystem.
In the link provided at the beginning of this article, you can find valuable information on the insignificant economic losses that wolves produce. The wolf’s damage counts thus for 0,08% of the total wildlife-damage in Germany.
There are currently 70 confirmed wolf packs in Germany. Aproximately the same amount than Galicia, in the north west of Spain with a size of 2/3 of Switzerland.
Livestock protection is the long term solution
Killing of wolves has counterproductive effects as it breaks the pack structure. The flow of experience and learning process from the elders to the younger animals is one of the most important factors in order that wolves learn how to hunt wild animals like wild boar, red deer or roe deer. If the elders are killed, the young ones will seek easier prey like livestock. Killing wolves does increase livestock damage and human wild life conflict.
The most effective solution is to protect the livestock using electric fences, guarding dogs and other methods to dissuade wolves approaching the livestock.
Have a look at the website of the European Wilderness Society to find out more on the Wolf in Germany.
Source article can be found here and here
For more than 100 years, the US government has conducted lethal control of native wildlife, to benefit livestock producers and to enhance game populations, especially in the western states. Since 2000, Wildlife Services (WS), an agency of the US Department of Agriculture, has killed 2 million native mammals, predominantly 20 species of carnivores, beavers, and several species of ground-dwelling squirrels, but also many nontarget species. Many are important species in their native ecosystems (e.g., ecosystem engineers such as prairie dogs and beavers, and apex predators such as gray wolves). Reducing their populations, locally or globally, risks cascading negative consequences including impoverishment of biodiversity, loss of resilience to biotic invasions, destabilization of populations at lower trophic levels, and loss of many ecosystem services that benefit human society directly and indirectly.
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by Jason G. Goldman
In predator-human conflicts, the thing we have to fear most is fear itself
One afternoon in September, a six-year old boy was hiking with his parents and siblings along a wooded trail in California’s Silicon Valley when a mountain lion leapt toward him. Whether the big cat saw the boy as a meal is uncertain, but the animal was chased away by the adults. The child was hospitalized for bite wounds and scratches to his upper body, head, and neck. “If the animal is captured and its DNA matches saliva samples on the boy’s clothing, the mountain lion will be killed,” wrote Steve Gorman for Reuters. Continue reading →