The Council of State confirms the wolf harvest threshold

Several NGOs had asked the Council of State to cancel a government decree authorizing the killing of up to a fifth of the wolves present in France per year.

It will still be possible to kill up to a fifth of the wolves present in France per year, confirmed Thursday, April 21 the Council of State, rejecting an NGO appeal against the authorized slaughter of these large protected predators.

The NGOs Ferus, Aspas and One Voice asked the highest administrative court to annul a government decree of October 2020 “fixing the maximum number of wolf specimens whose destruction may be authorized each year» to 19% of «the average workforce estimated annually“. A figure which, if reached before the end of the calendar year, can be increased by an additional 2% for defensive shots alone.

An “exponential growth” of the wolf population

The NGOs argued in particular that the decree contravened a 1992 European directive on the preservation of habitats, flora and wild fauna, which prohibits the killing of protected animals, such as wolves. However, the directive provides for exceptions, in particular to preventmajor damage“to breeding, as long as these derogations do not harm”maintenance in a favorable state of conservation» the animal populations concerned. But the Council of State notably invoked studies concluding that “exponential growth» of the wolf population since they naturally returned to France from Italy in the 1990s, whereas in the 1930s they had been eradicated by humans.

The judges also note that this 19% ceiling had already been applied in 2019 and 2020. And that if the rate of growth of the wolf population had then decreased, the latter had however “continued to increase significantly and continued its geographic expansion“. They therefore rejected the associations’ appeal and refused to send it to the European Court of Justice for examination, as they also requested. The presence of wolves – in the Alps, the South-East and the East but which is steadily increasing – is particularly denounced by many breeders.

For its detractors, canis lupus is a speciesin the process of colonizationand jeopardizes the pastoralism sector. They have demonstrated several times in recent years to demand a right to “self-defensein the event of an attack on a herd. The counting of wolves is a controversial issue, in particular because of the authorized slaughter percentages. The last estimated figure of the population on French territory, last October, was “about 624“. Some breeders consider it largely undervalued. Defenders of these predators point to the impact of authorized slaughter, i.e. 118 animals in 2021.

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