Some herds or high mountain pastures are subject to repeated attacks during a same season of mountain summer grazing. This important pressure of predation can reach a hardly bearable level, both economically and psychologically.
The dispensatory measures of the protection status can also be carried out in the following cases:
prevention of important damages to the livestock;
absence of another satisfying solution (protection or scaring away);
maintaining of wolves in a favourable state of conservation (constant or increasing natural range and positive dynamics of its populations).
The breeder or the shepherd can thus be allowed to scare away (with light, sound or non-lethal shots) or to shoot defensively in the immediate proximity.
When the situation dos not allow an individual defensive shooting, the prefect can organize a collective operation, always in the limit of the annual ceiling of 11 wolves in 2012: the killing.
In all cases, the wolf killings are not part of an approach of management of the population and this for several reasons:
the killing of an individual among a settled pack does not necessarily have consequences on the predation of the pack: the relationship between the number of wolves among a pack and the numbre of hunted preys is not linear; moreover, the killing of a wolf can disturb the pack and increase the total predation;
on a legal level, the regulation among a pack aiming at limiting the dispersal of young individuals in order to prevent the damages likely to be done in new areas cannot be considered.
On the other hand, scaring away or shooting wolves in the immediate proximity of the herd, as well as the presence of protection dogs, are going to take part in the "training" of wolves: the species is going to associate the domestic herds to a potential danger and will transfer its predation onto wildlife.
Finally, the existence of a possibility to infringe the protection status of wolves as a last resort allows a better social acceptance of the presence of the species.
- Decree of May the 9th 2011 related to the conditions and limits within dispensations to the destructions’ ban can be allowed by the prefects for the wolf (Canis lupus)
- Decree of May the 7th 2012 related to the maximum number of individuals of wolves (Canis lupus) that can be destructed for the 2012-2013 period
Depending on the assumed death rate and the success of reproduction, statistical studies have estimated the percentage of the population that can be killed without significant risks of extinction of the population on the long range. Depending on the models, this numbre varies from 5 to 15%.
- Adaptative management of the wolf population in France: from monitoring to the estimate of the possibilities of killing, E. Marboutin, C. Duchamp and others - 2005
- Establishment of a model of the viability of a wolf population: Strategies of conservation and of control, Chaperon and others - 2001