Hunters have been given the green light to shoot a rogue wolf blamed for killing 40 sheep in southern Switzerland. Cantons Graubünden and Ticino ordered wolf M75 destroyed after genetic testing linked it to the sheep attacks.
Wolves are a protected species in Switzerland but local authorities can authorize shootings if any animal kills more than 25 livestock. Hunters have been given a 60-day window to legally bring down the male wolf.
This represents the first such hunting permit in canton Tessin and the only such occasion since 2001 in Graubünden. The World Wildlife Fund said it would review the case before deciding whether to mount a legal challenge against the shooting permission.
Since reappearing in Switzerland around 20 years ago, wolves have been regularly spotted in the Swiss Alps. The government estimates some 30 to 40 wolves count Switzerland as part of their territory. Last year wolves killed 389 sheep, goats and other farm animals.
The number of livestock deaths by wolves in Graubünden has drastically risen from an annual average of around 20 to 32 so far this year.
In January, an initiative to make canton Valais a predator-free zone (effectively banning wolves, bears and lynx) achieved enough votes to force a future vote.
In March of last year, parliament rejected a motion to allow wolves to be hunted in Switzerland.