She-wolf "Gloria" is said to have killed up to 140 animals on the Lower Rhine.
However, it is not classified as a problem wolf.
A court has decided: she can live.
Düsseldorf - In North Rhine-Westphalia on the Lower Rhine, she-wolf Gloria has been hunting for several years. Because she also jumps over protective fences and tears down grazing animals, many shepherds in the region don't like her. One of them, Kurt Opriel, therefore applied for them to be classified as a problem wolf - wolves with abnormal behavior can be released for shooting. Gloria had repeatedly killed sheep from the shepherd and other breeders. Opriel had lost 29 animals - 26 percent of his herd.
Gloria and her hunting behavior were the subject of the Düsseldorf administrative court at the beginning of May - and the judges decided in favor of the she-wolf.
The court was not convinced that the shepherd Opriel could face serious harm in the future.
There was only one incident in the past year.
Most of the sheep fell victim to Gloria in 2018 and 2019.
There is no evidence that the she-wolf specialized in tearing sheep, said the presiding judge Christoph Werthmann.
She-wolf Gloria in NRW: Up to 140 animals are said to have fallen victim to her
She-wolf Gloria, in official German wolf bull "GW954f", is said to have killed between 92 and 140 grazing animals on the Lower Rhine: "Shetland ponies, sheep, goats and fallow deer in the enclosure," says lawyer Stefan Steinkühler.
Gloria had overcome power fences of 1.20 meters several times and was actually behaving abnormally, he had argued.
Shepherd Kurt Opriel was disappointed.
He has to "let the judgment sink in and then see how it goes on," he says.
Opriel wanted to oblige the Wesel district to issue an exemption under the Federal Nature Conservation Act so that the she-wolf could be killed as having behavioral problems.
The wolf * is one of the strictly protected animal species; it can only be killed in exceptional cases.
She-wolf Gloria "not a behavioral wolf"
He does not yet know whether he will appeal, says Schäfer Opriel after the verdict has been announced.
“You have to think about the animals now.” In the meantime, Opriel has bought a sheepfold for 150,000 euros - “without subsidies”, as his lawyer emphasizes.
But locking the sheep inside all the time is not appropriate to the species.
The Wesel district had not denied that the shepherd had suffered serious economic damage.
He will continue to be supported in protecting his herd, assured district employee Klaus Horstmann.
However, he does not want to classify Gloria as a problem wolf - despite numerous cracks from grazing animals, which can be proven to be on her account.
"For me, this is not a behavioral wolf," says Horstmann.
On the other hand, Opriel's lawyer Steinkühler is certain that “the attacks will continue”.
As for the future, Matthias Kaiser from the State Environment Agency had no good news for the shepherd.
Not only did a male join Gloria and father a cub with her.
He also assumes that more wandering wolves will soon discover the Schermbeck wolf area and settle in the 957 square kilometers.
She-wolf Gloria in NRW: "Clearly a problem wolf"
The environmental protection associations Nabu and BUND as well as NRW Environment Minister Ursula Heinen-Esser (CDU) welcomed the verdict.
But that is not the end of the job: “Herd protection was, is and will remain the order of the day,” said the Minister.
"In Europe there is no getting around the coexistence of grazing animals and wolves."
In contrast, the Rhenish Agricultural Association (RLV) was disappointed. Protective measures and a quick removal of conspicuous wolves should be "two sides of the same coin". "If there are no consequences here, acceptance for the wolf will continue to decline", according to the RLV. In the meantime, many grazing animal keepers felt that politics and administration had let them down with the problem.
"Wolves multiply at breakneck speed and will soon make grazing animals impossible," warned Karlheinz Busen, spokesman for hunting policy for the FDP parliamentary group. Gloria is clearly a problem wolf. “We need wolves to be shot down to regulate the population. If the federal and state agricultural ministers are not in a position to effectively protect animal welfare, they are obviously unsuitable for their job, ”said Busen. (ial with dpa)
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A shepherd from Northern Hesse also took a drastic measure: he sold his entire herd * for fear of the wolf.