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Missing shots: has the possibility of shooting wolves been lacking for 20 years in France’s livestock protection measures?

Abstract : Wolves were exterminated in France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Therefore, livestock breeders and herders were unprepared when wolves arrived from Italy in 1993, the year after France committed to the European Union (EU) to protect wolves. Today, ,580 wolves, whose numbers are growing exponentially, are present in over onethird of France. During the last 10 years, livestock deaths from wolves have grown linearly from 3215 in 2009 to 12 451 in 2019, despite France implementing extensive damage protection measures since 2004, including reinforced human presence, livestock guard dogs, secured pasture fencing and electrified night pens. The failure to prevent damage is clear. Wolves enter mosaic landscapes where grazing livestock are abundant and easy prey. Wolves are intelligent and opportunistic. As a strictly protected species, it seems they no longer associate livestock with humans and humans with danger. Half of the successful attacks now occur during the day, notwithstanding the presence of dogs and humans. Considering the high costs of unsatisfactory protection, France recently modified its wolf management policy. In addition to non-lethal means of protection, breeders that have suffered several attacks by wolves are now permitted, by derogation to the law, to defensively shoot wolves. Based upon evidence from other countries, we suggest re-establishing a reciprocal relationship with wolves. Breeders and herders should be allowed to shoot wolves to defend their herds against wolf attacks, not after several successful predation events. Defence shooting would also upgrade the efficiency of non-lethal means, as warning signals for wolves to respect. Rather than passive coexistence, we need to embrace a dynamic and everevolving process of coadaptation between humans and wolves, relying on the adaptive capacities of both.
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Contributor : Lescureux Nicolas Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, May 16, 2022 - 10:19:42 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 28, 2022 - 4:20:12 PM


Publication funded by an institution


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


  • HAL Id : hal-03098150, version 1
  • DOI : 10.1071/RJ20046
  • WOS : 000608924000001


Michel M. Meuret, Charles-Henri Moulin, Olivier Bonnet, Laurent Garde, Marie-Odile Nozieres-Petit, et al.. Missing shots: has the possibility of shooting wolves been lacking for 20 years in France’s livestock protection measures?. Rangeland Journal, CSIRO Publishing, 2020, 42 (6), pp.401-413. ⟨10.1071/RJ20046⟩. ⟨hal-03098150⟩



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