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Wolf sightings

Blood on the meadow

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While wolves are making a comeback in Switzerland they are also encroaching on mountain pastures, leaving behind a trail of dead sheep. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

In Switzerland, wolves, bears and lynx have long been extinct. But they have reappeared in the last couple of decades, crossing the border from their natural habitats in neighbouring countries.

In 2014 the Federal Office for the Environment compensated livestock owners for the killing of 212 farm animals that had been attacked by wolves.

At the beginning of June, in one of the latest cases to be reported, a wolf went on a killing spree in central Switzerland, slaughtering an estimated 40 sheep over a period of about one month. Authorities eventually issued a permit to shoot the wolf.

Under the international agreement on wildlife conservation, the Bern Convention, wolves are a protected species. Nevertheless, under Swiss law a permit to shoot a wolf may be issued when a wolf attacks 35 sheep over four months or 25 in one month.