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Hunters urge calm as wolves return to Bavaria

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Hunters urge calm as wolves return to Bavaria
Way too cute to shoot. Photo: DPA
10:48 CET+01:00
The ÖJV ecological hunters' association urged Bavarians on Friday to remain calm following confirmation that a lone wolf has been spotted near the southern community of Brannenburg.

“Fear of a single wolf would be totally unfounded,” ÖJV leader Wolfgang Kornder said, advising anyone out for a walk in the forest to behave “normally.”

Wolves have no interest in coming into contact with humans,” he said.

On Friday, Bavarian Environment Ministry wildlife manager Manfred Wölfl confirmed with daily Münchner Merkur that a wolf had been identified based on sightings and evidence of bite marks found on deer carrion. According to Wölfl, the animal has been seen in the area since December and has not attacked any livestock.

The ÖJV's Kornder speculated that the rare canine was a young male on the prowl for a new area to settle.

“It can't be assumed he brought along a whole pack,” Kornder said, adding that his organisation hopes the animal stays in the southern German state. “It's a fascinating occurrence when the big predators return. We should be happy that it's happening.”

The return of wolves to the area means that environmental conditions are improving, Kornder asserted, though he admitted that there could be problems too.

“Naturally one has to assume that in the future he could kill a house pet or two, or for example sheep in the fields at night,” he said.

But people can erect electric fences and anyone who loses an animal to a wolf is entitled to compensation from the state, he assured.

“We just need to be engaged,” he said, urging residents to be understanding.

The Canis lupus, or grey wolf, was hunted in Germany beginning in medieval times. The species disappeared from the country in the 19th century, when they were driven east to Poland and Russia.

But the wolf has been making a slow return to Germany despite residents' fears and several lethal incidents with angry hunters. Experts estimate there are about five packs totalling in some 45 wolves in the northeastern part of the country. The five wolves in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are believed to have wandered into the country from Poland.

In June 2009 a hunter in Saxony-Anhalt was charged with killing a male wolf that lived with a female and their young cubs at the military training facility in Altengrabow.

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