Wolves menacing sheep in Switzerland

Aug. 6, 2009 at 5:31 PM

BERN, Switzerland, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Wolves are moving into Switzerland from Italy and posing a danger to sheep herds, experts from the Federal Environment Office in Bern said.

Wolves were driven out of Switzerland in the 19th century, but are returning. Although there are many more wolves in the French and Italian Alps, Swiss authorities believe the number there will rise in the coming years.

Since mid-May 100 sheep were slaughtered by wolves.

In one case, 15 sheep were killed in an attack in canton Valais. The flock was in an enclosure and watched over by two mountain dogs and a donkey. Experts say wolves rarely attack sheep under the watch of dogs.

Wolf expert Jean-Marc Landry told Swissinfo.ch more resources should be focused on prevention, research into the effectiveness and aggressiveness of mountain dogs and information on wolves for farmers.

"We don't really know what's happening. We have suspicions but don't really have the proof," he said. "We should work closer with the French and Italians, and democratize the wolf."

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