Wolves to be 'educated' not to kill sheep
In a bid to try and crackdown on the number of wolf attacks on farm animals the French government has announced a plan to try and "educate" the wild beasts. The proposal has been greeted with mixed reactions.
Can you teach a wolf not to eat sheep?
The idea is being floated in France, where the return of the wolf has got farmers and environmentalists at each other's throats.
Under a proposed "National Wolf Plan," the government says it will conduct experiments into "educating" the canine carnivore, which is spreading stealthily in remote areas.
Rest assured, this scheme does not entail lecturing wolves about the cuteness of lambs or trying to convert them to vegetarianism.
Instead, it entails capturing individual wolves that are known to attack a local flock and then marking these bothersome predators before letting them go.
The theory is that the animal will be so traumatised by the experience that it will leave the sheep alone and instead hunt for deer, boar, rabbits and other wild animals.
But if the wolf remains a problem, the ID makes it easier to be singled out and shot.
"Eleven of France's regional parks have said they are willing to take part in the experiments," Ecology Minister Delphine Batho said this week, as the proposal met a mixed reception.
Once plentiful, the wolf officially died out in France in the 1930s, wiped out by farmers and hunters.
More than a half a century later, wolves began creeping back, crossing the border from Italy. In 1992, suspicions of the comeback were confirmed when a pair of wolves were spotted in the Mercantour park in the southeast of the country.
Around 250 wolves in France
Today, according to Eric Marboutin at the National Office for Hunting and Wildlife (ONCFS), there are around 250 wolves, 90 percent of them in the Alps, and scatterings of others in the east and southwest of France, including the eastern Pyrenees.
Um well ah I uh hmmm................................