Fine for first Rhineland wolf kill since 1879
Published: 17 Jan 2013 15:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Jan 2013 15:21 GMT+01:00
A 72-year-old hunter who shot the first wolf seen in the Rhineland since 1879 - claiming he thought it was a dog - has been fined €3,500 after genetic tests confirmed it had indeed been a protected species.
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He shot the wolf last April on land in the Westerwald forest which he leases for hunting. The pensioner remorsefully turned himself in to police saying he had shot what he had taken for a stray dog after his deer.
The court ordered him to pay €3,500 - an estimate of 70 days of his income - for contravening the Animal Welfare Act. The court ruled the wolf had not been hunting the man's deer when it was killed and so the man had not been justified in shooting it.
The defence, which were pushing for all charges to be dropped, relied on the testimony of a behavioural biologist which threw doubt on whether the animal had really been a wolf.
However, the court ruled instead in favour of conclusive testimony from experts of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, who said genetic tests on the body had proved it was a wolf originating from the Italian Alps.
However, the court said that although he should not have shot the wolf, the man had not broken Federal Conservation Act, because having never personally come across a wolf in the forest, he could not have known what it was.
The accused told the court that he had heard rumours of a wolf prowling around his part of the forest but had thought it so unlikely in that region that he had soon forgotten all about it, said the regional Rhein Zeitung on Thursday.