Police have opened an investigation after a dead wolf was found in the canton of Valais. It had been shot.
The animal was found on Tuesday by a passerby on the banks of the Rhone river near Grengiols and reported to the cantonal hunting, fishing and wildlife authorities, a cantonal police statement said on Fridayexternal link. The wolf's corpse was recovered by police, and then taken to the animal hospital in the Swiss capital, Bern.
“Preliminary investigations show that the wolf shows a shotgun wound,” the statement continued.
This is not the first time a wolf has been killed in canton Valais, which is in southwest Switzerland. There was a similar case in 2016, when a badly decomposed body of a wolf was found by fishermen on the Rhone riverbank near Raron. It had also been shot. Eventually a man was charged over the wolf’s death, but he was acquitted due to insufficient evidence by a local court in summer 2018.
In 2017 a dead female wolf was found shot in Val d'Anniviers, and another one was killed by a hunter, who claimed it was an accident, a year later. The man informed the authorities, but was still subject to an investigation.
Wolves can only be killed if the local authorities issue a permit. This is usually done only if a wolf kills a certain number of livestock over a period of time.
There are around 30-40 wolves living in Switzerland, but they have an uneasy relationship with people who live in the same areas.
The predator, which returned to the country in 2012, is protected under the Bern Convention.external link