Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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Wolf killings are hitting farmers hard on the Slovenia-Austria border

According to ranchers, the number of animals killed by wolves has increased dramatically in the Austrian-Slovenian border region.

Last year, four times more farm animals were killed by the predator in the Carinthia region than in the previous year.

Farmers are entitled to state compensation. The problem is that they have to prove that the killer was a wolf.

Slovenian farmer Matija Juvan received only a small part of the planned compensation because his sheep’s identification tags were lost during the killing.

“I only got paid for the damage to four of the 17 sheep killed,” he said.

No evidence of a wolf kill means no money, the Slovenian government confirmed. This is despite the fact that the number of missing but uncompensated animals in Matija’s community has recently tripled.

“The sheep don’t die immediately,” explains Matija, “they are in great pain. It’s a complex problem, it’s not just about the money for me.”

It is legal to shoot wolves in Slovenia and neighboring Austria, and farmers sometimes use a carcass of a dead animal to lure predators.

Hunters are particularly eager to target hybrids, a cross between dogs and wolves, as they are bolder and will even enter villages during the day.

But for the World Wildlife Fund, wolves also have benefits. The conservation organization says wolves protect forests from destruction by deer.

Forestry would save hundreds of millions of euros in damages by tolerating the predator.

“The young trees often cannot grow at all because they are eaten by game (including deer) beforehand,” explains Christian Pichler from WWF Austria, “and the wolf would help to reduce the high game population here.”

But that doesn’t really help farmers like Matija Juvan.

He told Euronews his passion for hard work in the alpine terrain is dwindling in the face of wolf attacks.



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