The European Wolf (aka the Eurasian Wolf) has been the focus of a new ruling which may see numbers skyrocket in the coming years, particularly in France.
Recent sightings of the European Wolf in countries such as Belgium and Denmark have sparked debate in neighbouring France, where Environment minister Nicolas Hulot has drafted a proposal to ensure the survival and protection of the species. The existing number of wolves in France is estimated to be approximately 360. The new proposal will see that number rise to around 500.
Hulot suggests that electric fences and herding dogs be supplied to farmers (one of the primary opposing forces to such rulings), which will assist them in keeping livestock protected and secured from roving wolf packs.
There have been subsequent calls for the species to be re-introduced to the United Kingdom, where the animals once lived in plentiful numbers. The fate of the European Wolf has been the same as many animals. They were hunted to the brink of extinction. According to The Guardian “Hunting wiped out the grey wolf in France during the 1930s and they only returned in 1992 via Italy – currently home to around 2,000 wolves – before spreading into Switzerland and Germany.”
With a reputation as being fierce predatory beasts, the odds were never stacked in the wolves’ favour.
Large predators play a vital role within the ecosystem, exerting control on prey species numbers and spread, to keep the ecosystem in balance,” the Wildwood Trust told The Independent, “People’s opinion of the wolf remains prejudiced, and this poses a serious problem for obtaining support for the reinstatement of the species into this country.”
Wolves may have been given a bad rap over the years. Whilst they are carnivores, they are also highly intelligent and social creatures. Additionally, they play a vital role in maintaining, and occasionally cultivating the landscape. In this previous My Good Planet feature, we examined how wolves have a direct effect on the environment which they inhabit.
More information about wolf populations and conservation schemes can be found via the International Wolf Center.