German wolves,  wildlife conservation, animal reintroduction
Kai-Uwe Knoth/AP

Moose and Wolves to Receive Migration Bridges in Germany

March 13, 2009 09:00 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
With more wolves and moose migrating through Germany, the country has angered some by taking steps to make their passage easier.

“Autobahn Migration Bridges”

Many large wild animals in Germany were killed off about a century ago, but now some of them, including wolves and moose, are working on a comeback, according to Bloomberg.

Experts say part of the reason behind the wolves’ return is the disappearance of natural enemies, according to Deutsche Welle. Smaller animals like raccoons and foxes are on the upswing as well, creating a better hunting environment for wolves.

Their return has sparked some debate, however, now that German officials are planning “migration bridges” over the “no-speed limit Autobahn highways,” to keep wolves and moose safe as they move in from Poland, Bloomberg reported.

But not everyone wants to be so accommodating. “Official support for the wolf population is morally and economically an imposition on private property,” said Christian Schwinner-Strachwitz, a forest owner who is concerned the wolves will kill the red deer. “That’s why I’m against it.”
With people like Schwinner-Strachwitz worried about how the reintroduction of wolves will affect wild game and livestock, and with conservationists encouraging biodiversity, officials are trying to reach an agreement on animal management. “People in Germany think they have a democratic right to choose whether wolves and other animals are allowed here,” World Wildlife Fund program officer Izabela Skawinska told Bloomberg. “Most people don’t realize that wolves are protected by international and EU law.”

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Related Topic: Animal management controversies

In England, farmers have been frustrated by the government’s no-kill rabbit policy, an example of the often-conflicting viewpoints regarding animal protection. Farmers had long been able to tell neighbors to kill rabbits if they became troublesome, but a new government policy has negated that ability, reasoning that the rabbit population is lower than it used to be. Now, farmers and landowners are up in arms, complaining that the new policy favors animal protection while neglecting people’s lifestyles.

Meanwhile, in the United States, growing sea lion populations have stirred controversy as well. When six federally protected sea lions were found dead in 2008, officials worked to determine whether the animals were shot to death. Sea lion populations have been growing in the Pacific Northwest since the Marine Mammal Protection Act went into effect in 1972. Now, salmon populations have become endangered in the area.

Sea lions feed on salmon, and fishermen and American Indian tribes have lobbied to cut down the number of sea lions to protect the salmon.

Reference: Animal reintroduction


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