The European alpine space too small for the wolf of five years

Within five years, the wolves present in the European Alps should self-regulate their population, once their species has saturated this vital space in the heart of the continent (Photo illustration). KEYSTONE/DPA-Zentralbild/MARTIN SCHUTT sda-ats

This content was published on 08 August 2022 – 16:50


Hardly a week goes by without the wolf making the news in Switzerland. We thus learned on Monday about the discovery of an eighth herd in Graubünden and the attack of a cattle on a St. Welsh mountain pasture. And it’s not over. Their population will continue to grow for another five years.

If the wolf population continues to grow in this way, it will be cramped in the European alpine space within five years, the Swiss wolf group said in a statement on Monday. According to his estimate, there should then be around 800 packages. From then on, the species itself will regulate births.

In 2021, there were already more than 250 wolf packs in the alpine region, writes the Swiss Wolf Group. With this year’s further increase to over 300 parcels, half of the residential area will soon be colonized. To arrive at these figures, the specialists from the Swiss Wolf Group assume that a wolf needs about 250 km2.

Due to the habitat quality and very high game numbers in the Alps, even increased regulatory interventions would hardly slow population growth. And since the species is highly mobile, no area will escape it.

Faced with this observation, Groupe Loup Suisse considers it an absolute necessity to generalize and systematize the protection of endangered livestock herds. Faster shots from the animal will never replace such a measure.

Cattle killed

It is not known whether the one-year-old calf found dead on an alpine pasture near Pfäfers (SG), the first in the canton of St. Gallen, was in a protected herd. Thanks to the bite marks, the game warden could only confirm that the cattle had indeed been attacked by one or more wolves.

Faeces and hair were also found at the site, the office of nature, hunting and fishing in the canton of St. Gall Monday. Genetic analyzes of hair and droppings will be conducted to determine which wolf it is and its origin.

A cow had already been attacked in the Murg valley a year ago, but she had survived. Since the beginning of the year, 16 sheep and 15 goats have been attacked by wolves in the canton of St. Gallen, all on unprotected pastures.

The legal conditions for slaughter have not been met. At least ten sheep or goats from a protected herd must be killed within four months or at least two cattle. In addition, the cattle attack happened in a free federal district where shooting is not allowed.

eighth package

The main canton with habitat for the more than 150 wolves estimated in Switzerland, the Graubünden, announced on Monday the presence of an eighth pack on its territory. The photograph on Sunday of two cubs in the Lumnezia region (GR) confirms that the species continues to grow.

The presence of a few wolves in this region Wannaspitz, which extends over territories in the municipalities of Vals, Lumnezia and Ilanz, has been known since last year, states the hunting and fishing office of the canton of Graubünden. Among the seven other herds listed in the canton, four have given birth this year in a certain or very likely way.

Among the packs that have reproduced with certainty is the one from Beverin, where four cubs have been observed. This is the fourth time this flock has bred. Earlier this month, two wolf cubs were shot and killed in a mountain pasture near a herd of sheep. These shots were approved by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) after the Beverin herd attacked two mother cows over the course of a few days in July.

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