Lone wolf attacks 15 sheep overnight
Authorities urged farmers in the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to secure their fences on Tuesday after determining that a lone wolf likely killed and severely injured a total of 15 sheep in a single field overnight.
The animals were attacked on a meadow in Müritz county, and evidence points to a wolf, the state Environment Ministry said in a statement.
Injuries on the animals, along with tracks in the field probably belong to a single wolf that belongs to a pack in Brandenburg, the neighbouring state to the south.
The pack leader from Ostprignitz-Ruppin county has probably been observed crossing state lines regularly, the ministry said. In late January a private reindeer breeder reported several of his animals had been killed by a wolf too, they said.
State Environmental Minister Till Backhaus urged animal owners in the region to take extra precautions against the wolves, adding that officials would soon be meeting individually with livestock owners to help with the matter.
“The state is legally required to protect these animals,” Backmann said in the statement. “Unlike place where the wolf never totally disappeared, the people in our state are no longer used to dealing with wolves and the possible conflicts they create.”
The state will likely pay damages to the farmer whose sheep were killed, the statement said.
Such incidents have become more common in Germany as wolves have begun to flourish after being wiped out in the 19th century.
In August, 2010 some 15 lambs were killed and another 20 animals were severely injured in an attack in Brandenburg near the High Fläming Nature Park.
According to the environment ministry there, the rare and protected canines live in seven parts of the state, mainly on old military training sites and abandoned mining facilities. In total some 60 wolves live in Germany, mainly in the northeast, but experts believe they are constantly spreading across the country.
This February, the ÖJV ecological hunters’ association urged people in the southern state of Bavaria to remain calm following confirmation that a lone wolf has been spotted near the southern community of Brannenburg.
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.
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.