First wolf in Rhineland for 120 years shot dead
Published: 23 Apr 2012 12:41 GMT+02:00
- Wolves 'dine on deer, shun sheep' (13 Mar 12)
- Wolves likely to spread across Germany (28 Oct 11)
- Lone wolf attacks 15 sheep overnight (09 Feb 11)
The Rhineland-Palatinate Hunting Association was “99 percent sure that the dead animal is the wolf,” a spokesman for the Rhineland-Palatinate Hunting Association told The Local.
Speaking from Gensingen, Günther Klein said the dead animal was found by walkers in the Westerwald on Saturday evening. It was a male weighing around 30 kilos, he said.
Tests are being conducted on the cadaver, to find out as much as possible about the wolf.
Whether the wolf was victim to a hunter remains unclear, but the animal was shot with a high-calibre weapon, the sort of firearm which only a licensed hunter could legally possess.
President of the Association, Kurt Alexander Michael, strongly condemned the killing, and said that if a hunter was found to be responsible, they would face a heavy fine and the revocation of their hunting licence.
The wolf was first sighted and photographed in late February near Steimel - the first to be seen in Rhineland Palatinate for 123 years. Experts from the German Nature Conservation Union said it posed no threat to people.
The return of wolves to Germany has mostly taken part in eastern areas as they return from Poland. A recent study suggested fears of farmers that the canines would feast on valuable sheep could be unfounded, as they mostly make deer their dinners.