First wolf killed in French cull

22nd October 2004, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, Oct 21 (AFP) - France's first official wolf cull since the 1930s killed its first animal Thursday, an 18-month-old she-wolf, authorities said.

LYON, France, Oct 21 (AFP) - France's first official wolf cull since the 1930s killed its first animal Thursday, an 18-month-old she-wolf, authorities said.

A ranger shot the wolf in Alpine woodland near the village of Bouvante, in the south east of the country.

Under the government-sponsored hunt started two months ago, up to four wolves - from an estimated total colony of around 50 - can be killed by the end of the year.

The measure was enacted to protect farmers' livestock following attacks on sheep in the southern Alps that in some cases saw flocks driven over cliffs to their deaths.

Environmentalists and animal rights groups have protested the measure and launched legal challenges against it, resulting in the government halving the initial number of wolves it wanted to see killed.

Many farmers, though, say the cull does not go far enough and want to see wolves eradicated from France entirely.

Exterminated in France before World War II, the wolf was reintroduced in1992 in the Mercantour national park on France's border with Italy, and its population has since increased by 20 percent a year.

The Association for the Protection of Wild Species (ASPAS), which has led the fight against the cull, says the hunt endangers a species protected under European law.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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