Wolf kills 19 sheep in a week in eastern Switzerland

A pair of wolves have been repeatedly spotted in the area since 2019. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Most of the sheep attacked were on a pasture protected by an electric fence.  

This content was published on July 31, 2020 - 14:27

The depredations by Switzerland’s top predator took place in the municipality of Flums in the eastern Swiss canton of St Gallen. The canton’s gamekeeper was informed on Thursday after several dead sheep were found on an alpine pasture in the Schilstal valley. A pair of wolves have been repeatedly spotted in the area since 2019 but have not yet had any offspring. 

Livestock farmers in the Sarganserland region were informed of the attacks by text message and have taken appropriate measures to safeguard their flocks. The gamekeeper took samples from the dead sheep for DNA analysis in order to identify the marauding wolf or wolves. 

The number of wolves in Switzerland is estimated at around 80. In 2012 the first pack formed in the Calanda area in the neighbouring canton of Graubünden to the south. Since then the animals have spread, and today experts assume that there are at least nine wolf packs in Switzerland. 

On Friday, camera traps in the western canton of Valais confirmed the presence of four new wolf cubs. This is the second year in row that the pack - that lives near the towns of Vionnaz and Vouvry - has had cubs. 

Hunting vote 

The Swiss are set to vote on controversial hunting reforms on September 27, after recent legal amendments led to animal protection campaigners launching a referendum. 

They are protesting recent changes to the Swiss hunting law which would make it easier to hunt protected species such as wolves, bears and ibex to prevent property damage or threats to humans. The amendments allow targeted individual shooting and provide for a transfer of decision-making powers from the federal government to the country’s 26 cantons. 

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