A female wolf is dead in canton Valais after being shot without the permission of the wildlife authorities. Police are looking for witnesses.
Walkers found the dead animal in a forest in Val d’Anniviers on Friday. The wolf had been shot behind the shoulder. Pathologists at the University of Bern are performing the autopsy and the cantonal public prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident.
The Swiss Wolf Group has offered a reward of CHF10,000 ($9,972) for information leading to the identification of the poacher.
"We offered a similar reward three years ago in a wolf poaching case in canton Graubünden and around 20 people came forward with information even though the culprit was never caught," David Gerke, president of the group, told swissinfo.ch.
Wolves have been an issue for some time in Valais, where thousands of people recently signed an initiative calling for it to be a predator-free canton. Wolves killed nearly 400 Swiss sheep and other livestock animals last year, about half of them in canton Valais.
However, because there are only about 30-35 wolves in Switzerland, the large predator is a protected species under the Berne Convention. This means that a wolf can be hunted down and killed only under certain conditions – for example, if it has been proven that an individual wolf has killed a certain number of animals within a certain time frame.
Shortly before Christmas, the federal wildlife authorities approved the killing of a young female wolf in the Augstbord area. They wanted to reduce the size of the pack living there. Critics have argued that this can lead to more sheep being killed.