Swiss Wolf cull put on hold


A proposed cull of Wolf in Switzerland has been put on hold by the country's courts.

Farmers in the country say the proposals were vital to protect livestock and, ultimately, the future of Alpine communities. However, environmental groups argued it went far further than the law allows and could decimate the Wolf population.

As it stands, the legal battle is working its way to an appeal court and the cull remains partially suspended.

Wolves returned to Switzerland in the 1990s (Marcel Langthim via Pixabay).

A protected species in much of Europe, Wolf returned to Switzerland in the 1990s, having previously been extirpated from the country. However, as the population has increased, the nation's high-mountain farmers began to notice that sheep were going missing. Under pressure from said farmers, the laws around protection were tweaked slightly to allow the killing of 'problem' Wolves – those known to have attacked livestock.

However, in a 2020 referendum, voters reaffirmed Wolf's protected status, rejecting proposals to relax the hunting regulations even further. Since then, Switzerland's Wolf population has tripled to at least 300, with an estimated 32 packs across the country.

This year, the government approved new measures, allowing cantons to eradicate not just problem Wolves but entire packs. It also suggested that a far smaller quota of Wolf packs would be suitable for Switzerland, at 12, rather than 32.

This mass cull was greeted with horror by wildlife groups and challenged by Switzerland's oldest environmental organisation, Pro Natura, which complained it went far beyond what was permitted under Swiss law.

"There was never any talk of a quota," said Nathalie Rutz of Pro Natura. "It's a very unscientific and politically motivated threshold, science is united on this. It doesn't take into account the important role the Wolf plays."