Their hibernation would have started in the next few days. But last week, the four marmots born in July, their parents and one of their grandparents were shot on Klewenalp. The Klewenalp railways (Klewenalp-Bahnen) say: "Due to the conditions, we had to make a decision".
The Nidwalden Animal Welfare Association first learned of the intentions of the railway at the end of last week through an anonymous tip-off, and were outraged after the killing of the marmots (we reported yesterday). Many people have contacted them since, wanting to know exactly what happened, says Jacqueline Dehmel, President of the Nidwalden Animal Welfare Association.
And the Klewenalp-Bahnen have received more than two dozen emails since the killing of the animals. "The topic is emotional, so we were not surprised that we also received a lot of emotional emails," says Paul Odermatt, Head of Operations and Technology at Klewenalp-Bahnen. After the turmoil in the social media, they were rather surprised that there was not even more direct feedback. "People prefer to comment anonymously rather than by their name." And Odermatt goes on to say: "I've never experienced anything like what has happened in the social media."
At some point, he therefore stopped reading the online comments.
Paul Odermatt himself also directly contacted the Nidwalden Animal Welfare Association President Jacqueline Dehmel for the first time yesterday: "He wrote saying that there was no way to relocate the marmots in the autumn. This is also clear to us, because the marmots have already started the nest building for their hibernation. The best time for a new location is in the spring. "He also wrote that they had to act because more animals would have been born in the spring. "That's a poor excuse though. In the spring there were four more young animals in the enclosure who were born in July 2019. The mother would have started to drive them away, and would only have been ready for a new mating once they had gone, "says Dehmel.
Recorded just a few weeks ago: two marmots on the Klewenalp.
In recent years, the Klewenalp-Bahnen have relocated young marmots several times, says Dehmel. "A few of the young animals were housed on the Stanserhorn or in the marmot park on the Grimsel." The Klewenalp-Bahnen confirm this. Marmots have also been relocated to the Jura.
The president of the animal welfare association says: "A former keeper of the marmots on the Klewen has told us that he had a place for the marmots in the spring. But even if that didn’t work out, we would certainly have found a new location through our large network. Toni's Zoo in Lucerne has also already publicly stated <in 20 minutes> that he could have taken over the animals,” says Jacqueline Dehmel.
Commenting on the many ideas for an alternative place of residence for animals, Paul Odermatt says: "One is always smarter in retrospect, but we had to make a decision because of the conditions." It was already announced at the railway’s general meeting, on the 20th September, that the marmot park would be closed. "But no one came forward with a solution."
After this regrettable incident, the animal welfare association would above all like to draw attention to the fact that they are there to provide support. "I think the railway initially didn’t know that they could turn to us. The veterinary office lays down the conditions and sees that these are respected. But we are the right address for help with relocations.”