Germany’s government on Wednesday relaxed the rules on the killing of wolves, which are now numerous in many parts of the country after totally disappearing in the latter half of the 19th Century. Following months of heated debate within the ruling coalition and between farmers’ associations and animal rights groups, the Government adopted a compromise decision on Wednesday.
Until now, killing wolves was allowed only when human lives were in danger. It will now be permitted if livestock is attacked. Members of a pack can be hunted if a herd is attacked, even if it is not certain that they were the attackers.
Feeding wolves is also banned to prevent them from becoming accustomed to humans and hang around human dwellings, the Government decided.
After an absence of 150 years, grey wolves made a big comeback in the year 2000 in the German countryside, after crossing over the border from Poland, much to the delight of nature lovers.
The Environment Ministry puts their number in the country in 2018 at 800, divided into 73 packs, with at least 9 specimens each. This is 13 more packs than the previous year. There have been no known cases of attacks against humans.
The fate of the wolves has been the subject of arduous discussions between livestock farmers, whose flocks and herds have been attacked, and environmentalists, but also between political parties.
Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party comes up against the AfD in three regional elections in September-October in eastern regions with a heavy wolf presence. It has thus approved the relaxation of rules on killing them, as demanded by the extreme-right Afd, which is strong in these regions.