Monday, October 6, 2014

Wolves at the gates of Paris

Two wolves are spotted within 40 miles of Paris in the first sighting so close to the French capital

Forests just outside Paris form an ideal environment for wolves because they are well stocked with wild boar and deer
Forests just outside Paris form an ideal environment for wolves because they are well stocked with wild boar and deer Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES
 
Wolves have been spotted within 40 miles of Paris, in the first sighting so close to the capital since they crept back into France from Italy a decade ago. "They are probably young adults who have separated from the pack as they search for a territory," said wildlife expert Eric Bas. "A wolf can roam about 100 kilometres (60 miles) in a single night."
Forests just outside Paris form an ideal environment for wolves because they are well stocked with wild boar and deer.
The grey wolf was wiped out in France in the 1920s, but has made an astonishing comeback over the past decade. Wolves now numbering at least 300 across the country killed more than 6,000 sheep last year.
The environment minister, Segolene Royal, has authorized culls of wolves – against opposition from conservationists. However, the decision was welcomed by farmers.
Luc Smessaert, a livestock breeder near Beauvais, north of Paris, said: "Coexisting with wolves would be impossible in this area."

Special permission is required to kill wolves, which are a protected species under the Bern Convention and European law.

Mr Bas claims the wolf poses no danger to people, although there were reports of man-eating wolves terrorising people in the Paris area as late as the 18th century.

"Wolves never attack humans and they are part of the balance of nature," Mr Bas said. "It's flocks that have to be protected, to prevent the wolf becoming the scapegoat of farmers and hunters."

A dead wolf, probably shot by hunters, was found in Coole, a village about 100 miles east of Paris, in January, following attacks on sheep slightly further away from the capital.

Wolves are now expected to colonize areas north of Paris, according to Guy Harle d'Ophove, head of a hunters' association.

source