Austria shoots more wolves; half as many animals attacked

The lower thresholds for shooting wolves in Austria have noticeably reduced the wolf population. About a dozen wolves have been killed so far this year, the Austrian Wildlife Management Institute reported. 

Authorities estimate that about 80 wolves were roaming this year. The animals, which fall under the Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive of the EU, are hunted particularly intensively in the western Alpine cantons of Tyrol and Carinthia. 

According to authorities, the aim is to protect grazing animals; sometimes wolves get too close to herds and settlements. In Tyrol alone, approximately 200,000 cattle, sheep, goats and horses spend the summer months on the high Alpine pastures.

According to inquiries by the Austrian news agency APA among the regional cantons, the number of sheep and goats killed fell significantly last summer season. So far this year, almost four hundred farm animals have fallen victim to wolves; according to official statistics, there were twice as many the year before. Whether this is related to hunting cannot yet be proven, it is said, but it is very likely.

Six of Austria's nine states have recently lowered the thresholds for shooting problem wolves or have initiated corresponding procedures. Germany has also announced that it will expand the criteria for shooting permits.