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French ‘ranchers’ kidnap park official to protest wolf attacks in Alps

PREDATORS --  Livestock producers in France have issues with wolf management not unlike ranchers in Stevens County, Washington.   Here's the latest development in the French Alps.

Around 50 angry farmers have kidnapped the chief of a national park, demanding he take action against repeated wolf attacks on their livestock, according to an online report today on the News from France page of the LanguedocLiving website (for French stories in English).

Farmers in France have grown exasperated in recent years after seeing their sheep repeatedly slaughtered by the rising wolf population in certain parts of the country.

While the government has authorized for wolves to be killed in certain areas where attacks have taken place, farmers have grown frustrated that not enough is being done.

On Tuesday evening a group of around 50 farmers took the extreme step of kidnapping the president of the National Park of Vanoise in the Alps along with the park’s director.

They made the move to hold Guy Chaumereuil and Emmanuel Michau hostage against their will following a pubic meeting on the park's new charter.

The radical move of kidnapping has proved popular in France over the years, especially in Labour disputes between unions and bosses.

The farmers want urgent measures put in place to prevent the wolf attacks against their livestock.

According to farmers there have been 130 deadly attacks against livestock this summer compared to 105 last year.

A statement from the leading farmer’s union FDSEA in the Haute-Savoie region said: “Farmers are demanding the authorisation to kill wolves in the heart of the park and to establish effective means to round-up five wolves by the end of the year.”

“The farmers have reached their limit, they can’t take anymore. Every night they are in permanent stress,” said Jean Claude Croze, from the local branch of FDSEA.

The kidnapping, which did not involve any violence, took place around 11pm and talks were still ongoing on Wednesday morning.

According to reports in the press, the police have not suggested they will intervene.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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