Ireland supports EU protection for wild wolves despite concerns that their reintroduction is a problem for farmers

Ireland is among a number of EU governments strongly supporting continued wildlife protection for wolves and other predators in Europe, officials have confirmed.

The move follows growing pressure from farmer representatives and other activists to limit the special status of carnivores, including wolves, amid complaints that their reintroduction is ravaging regular agriculture.

The issue became public last fall when EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s favorite tournament, Dolly, was killed by a wolf in Germany.

In November, the European Parliament approved a motion urging the policy-making Commission to review and limit absolute conservation protections for wolves, which are being reintroduced in many parts of the EU after centuries of extinction.

Irish officials confirmed over the weekend that Dublin has backed a counterattack by 12 of the 27 EU member states to maintain protections for wolves under the Habitats Directive, which gives endangered species special status and bans the capture or killing of gray wolves.

Other governments protecting the wolf include Slovakia, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia.

Ireland’s support came through the Department for the Environment. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who is the Minister responsible, has in the recent past expressed general support for the principle of reintroducing wolves to this country after an absence of almost two and a half centuries, with the last wild Irish wolf to have died was killed in 1786.

So far, the gray wolf has made a comeback in mainland Europe, thanks in part to a 30-year-old EU law and reintroduction programs in many countries.

Dutch charity Rewilding Europe published a study last year showing the number has risen from 1,800 in the 1960s to an estimated 18,000 now.

The EU Commission estimates that there are around 14,000 wolves in the 27 member states.

Germany has around 2,000 wolves, mostly in 158 packs, but there are an estimated 40 loners. Ireland supports EU protection for wild wolves despite concerns that their reintroduction is a problem for farmers

Fry Electronics Team

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