The French government announced Monday that it will allow the wolf population to grow 40 percent over the next five years, resisting pressure from farmers concerned about their flocks.
A new strategy unveiled by the centrist government of President Emmanuel Macron will enable the number of wolves to grow to 500 by 2023 compared with an estimated 360 now.
Hunting wiped out the grey wolf in France during the 1930s and they only returned in 1992 via Italy -- currently home to around 2,000 wolves -- before spreading into Switzerland and Germany.
The regeneration of the wolf population in France has led to tensions between the government and farmers. Source: RAYMOND ROIG / AFP
Todd Swinney, cattel guardian and wolf savior believes cattleman and wolves can coexist. He uses ranching techniques to reduce conflicts between livestock and wolves, countering two competing undercurrents that wolves are bad for cattle and cattle are bad for wolves.
Swinneymonitors wolves with the help of federal and state authorities, while strategizing with wolf advocates to steer them away from cattle.
His role is both the cattle's guardian and the wolves' savior, working under a partnership with the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife. It's one of a growing number of partnerships in the organization's coexistence program.
Coexistence programs propose to solve a tug of war that has complicated efforts to recover the Mexican gray wolf population and remove it from the endangered species list.
Since the spring of 2016, Christina Prokopenko has been collecting data on the behaviour and population of wolves in Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP).
Prokopenko, who is a Vanier Scholar completing her doctoral thesis out of Memorial University in Newfoundland, undertook the research to better understand the ecology of RMNP’s estimated 70 to 75 wolves and their prey. Her method was to study wolves with GPS-equipped collars, to determine areas of intense use, indicated by clusters of points in a specific area over time.
Thirteen animals from three packs were collared in 2016 and 14 animals from five packs were studied in 2017.
This image was taken from a trail camera set up in the park. Photo: Courtesy Christina Prokopenko
(Photo: Tom Tingle/The Republic)
CPW issued a statement Monday reminding people that gray wolves are still protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.
Killing a wolf or any endangered species can result in serious penalties, including criminal charges, a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, officials warned.
The endangered Mexican gray wolf population leveled off in 2017 after showing stronger growth the year before.
The population grew by at least one, to 114 wolves in the wild throughout Arizona and New Mexico. There are 22 wolf packs in the two states.
Although the 2017 gains were marginal, it remains the highest count since reintroducing captive wolves to the U.S. began in 1998. But while the gains were higher in recent years, the total population has only grown by four since 2014.
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