After centuries of persecution and hunting, wildlife across Europe has seen a remarkable comeback. But as the number of bison, beavers and wild boar are steadily climbing, so too are the number of predators. Wolves have been dispersing from Eastern Europe to the West in increasing numbers to the delight of conservation organizations, but to the dismay of farmers. In response to losses of livestock in the Alps, France has finally bowed to the pressure of the shepherds and deployed a team of wolf hunters.
Formed earlier this year, the “anti-wolf brigade” has finally been let loose, with a license to cull up to 36 of the animals by the end of the year. Even though the grey wolf is protected from hunting by European law, it does allow the killing of the animal if it is part of a limited, targeted cull. Following a volatile few months in which French farmers have gone so far as to take their sheep to the streets of Paris and even hold hostage the manager of a national park, the French government has relaxed its hunting rules.