Local authorities have filed a complaint following the discovery of a dead wolf in canton Valais. Wolves are a protected species in Switzerland – a policy upheld in parliament just days ago.

A fisherman had found the carcass on the bank of the River Rhone near Raron earlier this month. On Saturday, Canton Valais authorities confirmed that the animal weighing 34.5 kg was indeed a male wolf. It is not clear how long ago he was shot.

The Pathological Institute at the University of Bern will examine the body to determine more details about the death. A DNA analysis will provide additional information about the wolf’s identity.

Valais authorities have filed a complaint against unknown, as the shooting was in violation of hunting regulations. Home to many alpine farmers, the canton has had ongoing issues with wolves threatening livestock. However, wolves are a protected species in Switzerland, where there are 15-20 wild wolves.

On Thursday, a Senate motion to allow wolves to be hunted freely was shot down after a heated debate. There are already measures in place permitting problem wolves to be killed if they attack livestock despite a farmer’s best efforts to repel them – for example with shepherd dogs or sturdy fences.

swissinfo.ch and agencies