Agriculture Ministry stops the hunting of wolves

The official quotas have been opposed by several institutions and organisations.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: DPA/TASR)

The Agriculture Ministry has stopped the hunting of wolves, claiming that the quotas for the ongoing season have been fulfilled. The ban applies on all hunting territories in Slovakia, starting on December 12.

The annual quota for the 2019/2020 season was set to 35 individuals a year. It was the result of an agreement between a working group comprised of the representatives of the Agriculture Ministry and other respective bodies, including the Environment Ministry, the State Nature Conservancy, farm animals breeders, the State Veterinary and Food Administration, the National Forestry Centre in Zvolen, the Military Forests, Lesy SR, and the representatives of district authorities and non-governmental organisations, the TASR newswire reported.

Petition launched

Agriculture Ministry’s spokesperson Vladimír Machalík said that the wolf population in Slovakia is in good shape. Their numbers are increasing, while also extending their territories. As a result, it is possible to hunt them without a negative impact on their population, he explained, as reported by TASR.

However, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Slovakia organisation criticised the quota on its blog, claiming that the representatives of the Environment Ministry and the State Nature Conservancy opposed the hunting, and proposed a zero quota.

It also referred to a case where only two eight-month cubs from a five-member family survived in the Chočské vrchy Mountains, with a minimal chance of survival. In total, 11 wolves were killed in the areas managed by the Tatra National Park (TANAP) Administration, quite a lot for one territory, as head of the TANAP Administration Pavol Majko said for TASR.

An open call to stop the hunting of wolves in Slovakia as well as set a zero quota, launched by 28 non-governmental organisations, has been signed by more than 100,000 people.

“Nevertheless, the Agriculture Ministry set the quotas, so the wolves can also be hunted outside national parks and outside the territories of European interest,” Majko said, as quoted by TASR, adding that most animals were shot close to the national parks, in the districts of Poprad, Liptovský Mikuláš and Ružomberok.

TANAP Administration has warned that this is a significant interference with the gene fund and the population may have serious consequences.

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