Menzingen, 20.12.2018

Unverified wolf sighting in Menzingen

Photo 1: Stock picture of canis lupus
Photo 2: Category 2 sighting by a wildlife biologist in Menzingen, in May of this year

 
Last Friday, a dog owner allegedly saw a wolf and filmed the animal. No SMS/text alarm was triggered, however, because the animal could not be determined. There is no danger for humans.
 
The Blick newspaper reported that the encounter took place while the dog owner was on a walk with her dogs in the ​​Chnollen area of Menzingen, and that the wolf slipped away after a few moments. This is the normal reaction of a wolf, according to Albin Schmidhauser from the Zug Office for Forest and Wildlife. "Wolves try to avoid humans," says the expert.
 
He had the short video sequence made by the dog owner analysed by the Swiss specialist department Kora. "It could not be verified whether it really was a wolf." It was therefore a Category 3 sighting – an observation by a non-specialist. "If a sighting is made by a specialist, i.e. a wildlife biologist or game warden, we speak of a Category 2 observation," explains Schmidhauser.
 
Category one sightings are those that have been verified by Kora, and usually involve the analysis of genetic material." As these analyses take three weeks, alarms are only triggered by Category 2 observations. "A text message is then sent to persons who use this service."
 
In the event of an attack on livestock, pet owners can use the police emergency number 117 to alert a ranger around the clock, seven days a week. "On the basis of the evidence, the ranger then decides whether a text alarm should be triggered."
 
The ranger also has an emergency kit with which he can secure the spot where the predator carried out the attack, because wolves often return to the scene to feed from the killed animal again. "Wolves are reluctant to jump over an obstacle. As a rule, they overcome fences by slipping through a gap”, says Albin Schmidhauser. You should therefore also secure fences near the ground with electricity. "An electric shock is a sheer horror for a wolf, and it is unlikely to return a second time."
 
‘Canis lupus’, as it is known by its technical term, is a wild animal protected throughout Europe. "The wolves that live in Switzerland today come from Abruzzo, where the animal was never exterminated," reports Schmidhauser. "Some have emigrated north via the Apennines and have reached Valais and the Jura via the Rhone and Aosta valleys. Others moved across the Po Valley to Ticino and the southern valleys of Graubünden. “We now have the Calanda and Morobbiar packs, as well as one in central Valais. Wolf M60 from the Calanda pack was verified in Zug last summer (we reported).
 
"It apparently finds enough wild game in our forests, and therefore does not have to approach livestock," explains Schmidhauser. "Farmers also know how to protect their animals." Attacks on livestock are very rare in the rest of Switzerland. "Of the 4,000 unprotected sheep that die on alpine pastures every year, only 1,480 fell victim to the wolf in 2017." Wolves that tear numerous herd animals due to bloodlust have been observed, but this is extremely rare, according to Schmidhauser. Humans need have no fear of wolves, however. "If you encounter one, you should stop and wait until it moves on."