The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Quota for wolves

Grey WolfOne has heard of licences and quotas for shooting ducks, culling kangaroos, killing whales etc, but that is meant for humans.

Have you ever heard of a quota on how much prey a wild animal can kill in a month?

Well, the Swiss have a quota on how many sheep a wolf can kill in a month in that country – Swiss law allows the predators to kill only 35 animals in four months, while the monthly quota is 25. However, the limit falls to 15 a month for protected herds, such as sheep.

Strange, indeed.

Predators kill for food and know no geographical boundaries, recognize no numbers, and rely solely on instinct. They hunt when hungry, and are a part of an ecosystem that has evolved over time.

Animals hunt in their natural habitat, and have done so for centuries, unfettered by any restrictions. It is only when their food sources dwindle that they explore options outside of their traditional hunting grounds and seek food elsewhere.

It appears that grey wolves have crossed into Switzerland from Italy and France, and killed over 40 sheep in August ’09, thereby exceeding their quota. Accordingly, the “death sentence” has been passed on what was estimated as three wolves who might have committed this transgression, with one wolf already getting felled by bullets from a wildlife warden.

The interesting thing is that there is no way of ascertaining, with any degree of certainty, the identity of the wolves that actually killed beyond the allowed limit. Even the figure of three wolves is merely an estimate based on the fact that the sheep were killed in three different areas. Who is to know if it was just one wolf or two (or more) that did the killing? 

One question that comes to mind is : if the farmers/breeders are so agitated about wolves lifting some of the sheep, why did they not corral their herds better in the first place?

The World Wildlife Fund that is head-quartered in Switzerland has protested about the “sentence” but is, perhaps, powerless to do anything more.

It is man that has encroached on the natural habitat of wild animals, and this, coupled with indiscriminate hunting, has led to the complete extinction of many animal species, and the near extinction of several others.

Humans have adopted the posture of the dominant species on this earth. And wild animals, as a consequence, need to be visible only in zoos.

Sheep, cows, chicken, turkeys, etc are bred by man for the purpose of subsequent slaughtering for food. In human logic, that is perfectly fine and acceptable. When it comes to animals killing sheep, it is a different story altogether.

Millions of tourists visit game parks in Africa to see wildlife in their natural habitat, and wax eloquent about the beauty of animals in the wild. And, one also hears of sheep being slaughtered and placed as bait to attract wild animals and provide entertainment to tourists.

I wonder what these very same people will say if some of these wild animals stray into human habitats and inflict damage.

Worth thinking about, surely.

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September 2, 2009 - Posted by | About this and that | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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