Authorities in the central Swiss canton of Uri spent CHF43,500 ($43,924) to eliminate a problem wolf. It was the first ever wolf to be killed in the area in 160 years.
According information published in the regional paper Urner Zeitung on Saturday, a total of 23 hunters and nine game guards were involved in the hunt for the animal, that added up to a total of 1,066 man hours.
The canid, identified as M28, was responsible for the death of around 70 sheep in the region. The animal managed to evade hunters for two months before eventually being shot on July 28.
Apart from compensating the hunters involved, costs related to helicopter transfers, overnight stays, travel expenses and overtime compensation helped inflate the bill. However, there is more to come. Farmers have not yet been compensated for the loss of their sheep. To get an indication of how much this will cost, famers in Isenthal in the same canton were paid CHF37,500 in compensation for 55 sheep killed last year. Thus M28’s depredations will likely add another CHF50,000 to the final bill.
The authorities have decided to stuff and mount the expensive wolf like a trophy. The cost of this is expected to be a modest CHF1,500.
Big bad wolf
Wolves are a protected species in Switzerland and it is estimated that there are around 30-40 wolves in the country, according to government estimates. These are thought to kill around 160 livestock a year. At present, authorisation within a specific canton to shoot wolves is given only if 25 sheep are killed by the animal within a month. Sixty days is given for the animal to be killed. If the wolf has not been tracked down during this period, the authorisation expires.
A motion to make it permanent open season on wolves without the need of permission was rejected by the Senate in March. However, the government wants to make it easier to hunt problem animals by allowing cantons to shoot individuals any time of the year.
swissinfo.ch and agencies