France allows wolf hunting in defiance of European laws

France has controversially lifted a ban on hunting wolves in Europe in order to deal with the increased number of attacks on sheep.

Wolves are being hunted in France against European laws

Wolves are being hunted in France against European laws Image by Giuseppe Calsamiglia / CC BY 2.0

Under pressure from local farmers and shepherds, who at one stage kidnapped a local ministry official in protest at what they saw as the government's lack of action, France has hired a team of wolf hunters to rid the Alps of this ongoing problem.

There have been multiple protests from animal rights activists and conservationists alike in the area, many of whom point to the need for the wolf to be left to roam freely in order to maintain a balance  in nature, citing the successful reintroduction of the wolf in the cases of the Yellowstone National Park, and more recently in Scotland. The wolf is a protected species under European law and hunting is banned, although culling has in the past been allowed. In France the limit to the number of wolves that can be killed has just been raised to 36 for 2015.

The French government's wolf team is made up of five professional hunters who have been in the region of the Haute Alps for three weeks. They have as of yet not killed a single wolf but identified around five. The BBC reports that in 2014 an estimated 8500 animals were killed by wolves, and that  it's thought that the number will rise this year.

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