Many agricultural unions, hunters, politicians, want to review the status of wolves in Europe so that they can generalize about ” defense photo ». A practice far from unanimity, championed by Emmanuel Macron last Thursday.
On a trip to a leg of the Tour de France in Hautes-Pyrénées on Thursday (July 21)Emmanuel Macron wants to reassure ranchers after the deaths of about 50 ewes in recent weeks.
He announced the creationone second brigade ofwolf intervention » For the Pyrenees and south of the Massif Central. Currently, there is only one mobile brigade of this type stationed at Gap (Hautes-Alpes). It is made up of State agents, authorized to carry out defensive shootings.
the President of the Republic also committed evolution » The status of the wolf at the European level.
Habitat Directive and its provisions
The wolf is a protected species both at the international level under the Bern Convention and at the European level under the “Habitat, fauna and flora” Directive 1992. The latter classifies wolves among species of Community interest, which should be “strictly protected”.
On the verge of extinction at the turn of the 20th century, these safeguards – with the expansion of the forest – allow the wolf rework, do it again gradually Europe since the 1990s, from remote areas where there are still (Balkans, Italy, Spain). Europe currently has about 20,000 wolves scattered throughout most of the country.
According to the latest figures from the French Biodiversity Office (BUFF’s)921 wolves live on French territory. They are 783 in 2021. Formerly limited to the Southern Alps, the animal from Italy is now widespread throughout the territory, as far as Brittany.
In the face of proliferating herd predators, herders and hunters are pushing public authorities to facilitate defense photo ». The government allows slaughter with a cap of 19% of the workforce annually. Based on the latest figures, 174 wolves could be sampled by 2022. In 2021, 103 wolves were killed, out of 118 allowed.
The European Directive’s exemption allows these injections, but only as a last resort, if damage to livestock continues despite protective measures. (dogs, fences, etc.) And if they do not endanger the survival of the species.
For Patrick Boffyvice president of Férus, an association that protects wolves, these conditions are not always met: ” We are almost adjusting. We’re at the limit of legitimacy, but as long as the population grows steadily, Europe will turn a blind eye. “.
Other countries go even further, even often in conflict with the EU. This is the case for Finland and Sweden, which have not hesitated to reduce their populations to a strict minimum by mass elimination, especially to preserve subsistence hunting.
On the other hand, other countries completely protect animals, such as Germany, Switzerland or Italy. Like France, Spain allows selective felling. Until 2021, the country has been cut in two: protected in the south, packs can be warded off in the north.
In fact, European regulations do not prevent the countries of the Union from applying national or even regional management, according to their needs, ecological, economic and cultural peculiarities. While still in the foundation of the Directive.
Towards the downgrade of the wolf?
For Claude Fonts, refer to the wolf file at National Sheep Federation (FNO)required to exceed the slaughter ceiling of 19% per year as required by French law. ” we does not want to manage accounting or political and technical regulation, but a regulation is in force, the herdsman or the shepherd must be able to defend himself whenever he needs to, including by shooting. »
For FNO, FNSEA or strong European union COPA-COGECA, the increase in shootings must be through the amendment of Directive According to them, the living environment, is still too limited.
Last February, Norbert Lins, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament, introduced a motion for a resolution on the protection of cattle and wolves, aiming to ” Amendment of the Habitat Directive » To get more Flexible in the management of wolves of the United States.
What the wolf killers in Europe are asking specifically is to downgrade the animal, by removing it from addendum 4 of the Directive, specifically for ” the animals are strictly protected, to add it to appendix 5, of “Wildlife is protected “. A much less restrictive category, only imposing that ” the samples taken do not affect the degree of conservation satisfactory“.
In 2015, Ségolène Royal, then Minister of Ecology, began the process with the Commission to amend the status of the wolf, before returning.
One profile that Emmanuel Macron seems to want to take over by pledging last Thursday is “ evolution » The status of the wolf at the European level, without further details.
For wolf protection associations like Férus, the European status of wolves” no need to develop “. As Patrick pointed out Boffy,Protective measures such as fences, dogs, night guards are effective and sufficient. The evidence of countries living with animals so far is always like Italy.
” In areas where there are always wolves, like in Abruzzo, cohabitation is normal, owners have dogs, they fend for themselves, they know what to do. On the other hand, there was conflict in the newly colonized areas. Anyway at the start. »
According to vice-president Férus, concurring with many experts, the taxes would even backfire: ” If the wolf to be killed is a member of the dominant pair, the pack will disintegrate. The young will then stray and attack the herd, which are more approachable than wild animals. So there may be an increase in hunting. »
In the guidance document on the strict protection of animals of interest to the Community under the “Habitat” directive of 12 October 2021, European Commission don’t say anything else, pretend that “ There is no solid evidence to support the effectiveness of using lethal controls to reduce predation. »
Any other story for breeder Claude Font. For him it’s notbehavior Not to kill, but to make wolves associate the pack with danger. The “reciprocal” relationship between wolves and humans, also protected by National Agricultural Research Institute (Inrae).
In a press release from the National Sheep Federation, breeder Haute-Loire is delighted with President Macron’s announcements, while challenging him on two key priorities: raise the brake when done square defensive shot » and ” The French state actually took the step ask one low class of the wolf on a European scale, go beyond simple commitments. »