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Germany relaxes rules on wolf culls

AFP  |  Berlin 

The on Wednesday relaxed rules on wolves, as the population of the has grown since its return to the country two decades ago.

After a emotional debate pitting environmental against farming concerns, the government decided that wolves can now be shot if they cause "serious damage" to farmers.

In cases of repeated attacks against sheep flocks or cattle herds, individuals can be hunted down even if it is unclear which animal in a pack was responsible. Previously, wolves could only be culled if they were deemed to spell a real threat to human lives.

A ban has also been imposed on feeding wolves, so as not to encourage the wild animal from shifting closer to human habitations for

The ministry estimates that there are currently 400 wolves in Germany, while the believes the population is more than 1,000 strong.

There have been no confirmed attacks on humans since the returned to from in 2000 after a 150-year hiatus.

But farmers have complained of attacks especially on sheep.

The far-right Alternative for party has seized on the issues, particularly in their eastern stronghold state Saxony, urging culls to control their population numbers.

With three major state elections due in the autumn in eastern including in Saxony, Angela Merkel's has now also backed the tougher stance against the

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 22 2019. 17:06 IST