Home News Life Mass sheep suicide at canton Graubünden investigated

Mass sheep suicide at canton Graubünden investigated

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These are impressive images from the Alps: in the midst of lush green meadows in Val Cristallina in Surselva (canton Graubünden), dozens of dead and injured sheep lie at the foot of a rock face. What happened here? Is the wolf responsible or is it made a scapegoat? The authorities also have many questions.

The fact is that last Saturday a total of 71 sheep fell from a cliff face, 43 animals died or had to be delivered from their suffering. 28 sheep have been injured and are still under observation.

The cause of the accident is still unclear, but the most obvious hypothesis is that one or more wolves are responsible, says Arno Puorger of the Public Service hunting and fishing of Graubünden.

“One sheep has an injury in the neck that resembles typical Wolf Bites. In the night from Saturday to Sunday, several Wolves have also been observed in the area. So there are several clues pointing in the direction of the wolf,” Puorger told local media.

In Switzerland, it is more common for individual sheep to fall off a rock face. However, Puorger emphasizes that it is unusual for there to be 71 at once and that the wolf may be to blame.

It involved a large herd of 1,600 animals guarded by a shepherd and six dogs. at night they sit in a closed area. Yet the question arises as to whether the sheep were adequately protected. How close were the 1,600 animals to each other? Could the dogs follow their tracks? “Wolves learn over time to circumvent measures to protect the sheep. I have heard of similar cases in Graubünden and Valais,” says Lukas Berger of the Association of sheep breeders.

DNA traces are now being searched for on the dead sheep that have injuries similar to Wolf Bites. This is to assess whether Wolves are involved and if so from which pack.

Despite the demands of the shepherds, the preventive shooting of Wolves this summer in the Swiss Alps is not yet on the agenda.

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