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Swiss rapped over knuckles for wolf shooting

At least seven wolves entered Switzerland between 1998 and 2001 Keystone

The Council of Europe is demanding that Switzerland explain why it permitted the shooting of a wolf - a protected species.

This content was published on February 16, 2002 - 11:09

The Council said it had sent a letter to the Swiss government seeking an explanation after receiving a complaint from the Italian ecological organisation, "Legambiente Lombardia".

"France, Germany and Norway have had the same sort of wolf problems as Switzerland and have resolved them," said Eliado Fernandez-Galiano, head of natural heritage at the Council of Europe.

"If other countries can find solutions Switzerland can too," he added.

Killing of protected species

The Legambiente says the killing of the wolf, in canton Graubünden last autumn, contravenes the 1982 Bern Convention, which states that protected animals may be killed to prevent "important damage to cattle", but not if the survival of the protected species is at stake.

The Swiss government has rejected the accusation. A spokesman for the Federal environment office, Willy Geiger, said "authorisation for the shooting was permitted by the convention".

The "Swiss Wolf Project" allows the killing of predators once an individual has killed more than 50 livestock. The wolf in question was thought to have killed around 100 sheep and goats.

Switzerland has no plans to re-introduce the wolf, but two to three animals are thought to cross the country's border each year, mainly from Italy.

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