Wolf Populations on the Rise in France Despite Threats of Culls


Photo: Lefteris Katsouromallis under a Creative Commons license.

Last year, Mat reported that wolf populations in the French Pyrenees were on the rise, and that there were an estimated 180 of the animals in the country. It looks like that trend is continuing, reports Le Figaro: Wolves are returning to not just the Pyrenees, but also the Alps, the Massif Central, and to the mountainous Vosges and Jura regions. The 180 figures has risen to 200. Eradicated from the country before the 1940s, wolves have been moving to France since the early 1990s. Most are descended from Italian wolves that escaped eradication in the Apennine Mountains in the 1970s, according to Le Figaro. Today, however, wolves in Western Europe are no longer attacked, but protected under the Bern Convention, an agreement by European countries to work together to protect endangered animals and natural habitats.

While French wolves are better off than their American cousins (recently pulled off the endangered species list), they still face threats. Many French farmers argue that the rising populations are a threat to their livestock, and lobby for their control, or destruction. In 2004, French environment minister Serge Lepeltier authorized a cull of four wolves from a group of 50 in the Alps, in response to farmers' demands.

But in the last seven years, no more culls have been announced. The wolves have continued their fight for survival, and are steadily gaining ground.

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More on wolves' fight against extinction:
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Tags: Animals | Endangered Species | France