What minimum pack size is needed to ensure that the survival of wolves in Switzerland is not jeopardized? This seems to be determined not by science, but by politics.
The wolf population could decline by up to 70 percent, and at least twelve of the 32 groups living in Switzerland must be preserved. When the Federal Council announced at the end of August its plans to implement the amended hunting law, there was a huge outcry – and the question was raised about how these numbers were arrived at. The Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU) is now responding to the request of the SRF “club”.
Complaints: Violation of the Berne Convention?
In November, two organizations, the association CHWolf and Avenir Loup Lynx Jura, filed a complaint against the Federal Council regulation: it contravenes the Berne Convention, an international treaty under international law for the protection of European wild animals, of which Switzerland has been a member since More than 40 years. In one PetitionWhich also referred to the Berne Convention and was directed directly at Federal Chancellor Albert Rösti – Minister of the Environment since the beginning of the year – there was talk of a “massacre”. 44,000 people signed it.
An accusation against which Albert Rusti is defending himself: The regulation is in accordance with the Convention, his spokeswoman Franziska Ingold said in September. To NZZ. The Federal Council receives support from, among others, the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Agriculture (LDK). In contrast to the KWL, their assessment of the Federal Council’s organization was positive.
Not only have environmental associations criticized the Federal Council’s regulation in recent weeks, there is also resistance in the cantons. This national threshold of twelve wolf packs had been set “arbitrarily,” wrote the Forestry, Wildlife and Landscape Committee (KWL), which includes cantonal hunting managers. It does not correspond “neither to the scientific considerations relating to the protection of species in the Berne Convention or the Alpine Convention, nor to previous statements of the Federal Council.”
This criticism was underscored by KWL President Josef Hess, Government Advisor for the Canton of Obwalden (Independent) in the “Club”: “We consider the threshold low. Based on the biological studies of wildlife that we know, it would take about 20 to 25 cans.
So how could the federal government come up with these 12 packages? At the request of the Club, Pavo wrote that this was a political decision: “It is up to the Federal Council to determine the new legal provisions.” Pavo also refers to a recommendation from the 2016 Alpine Convention. The Alpine Convention is an international treaty between the eight Alpine countries and the European Union. Only: Nowhere in the document is twelve packages mentioned, on the contrary.
In order to achieve the goal set in the agreement and to ensure the conservation of wolves in the Alps, the aim is to have 17 packs in Switzerland. This will include three packages in the Jura, Paavo explains – which brings us to the 20 packages that KWL also refers to. The report was co-funded by Pavo; The first author is Reinhard Schneidrig, who remains head of the Department for Wildlife and Species Promotion at the Federal Office.
The contradiction with current policy is clear. The report also stresses the need for the packaging to be distributed “in one form or another” in the Alpine countries. In neighboring countries there was an angry reaction to the Federal Council’s decision.
Pressure on cantons and wild hat
The KWL also criticizes that this low minimum creates expectations among mountain people that cannot be met – “this unnecessarily increases the pressure on game wardens in the cantons and the cantons concerned.”
The search process has begun
Part of the new hunting law has been in effect since Friday, December 1. This allows cantons to submit applications to the Federal Environment Office (BAFU) for preventive shooting of entire wolf packs. 12 out of 13 applications submitted so far have been approved. Wolf hunting has now begun in five cantons. As of Tuesday evening, December 5th. Three wolves were shot. About a year ago, Parliament decided that preventive shooting should also be possible through a review of the Hunting Act. Voters rejected the first revision, which also envisioned preemptive shooting, in September 2020.
In response to this accusation, Pavo says the number of herds living in Switzerland could be much higher: “In the future, it will still be up to the cantons to decide which herds they consider regulated and which ones.” Doing this is not necessary. The regulation gives the cantons the necessary scope to act – without requests from the cantons, no action will be taken on the packaging.
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