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Lynx and wolf are popular predators

The lynx and the wolf are making a comeback in the Swiss Alps - with the blessing of a majority of Swiss people, according to a new survey. Farmers and hunters, though, remain far from happy at the presence of the four-legged intruders.

This content was published on February 16, 2000 - 13:03

The lynx and the wolf are making a comeback in the Swiss Alps - with the blessing of a majority of Swiss people, according to a new survey. Farmers and hunters, though, remain far from happy at the presence of the four-legged intruders.

There are thought to be at least 150 lynx in Switzerland, mainly in cantons Fribourg, Vaud, Valais and Berne. The wolf is more of a tourist, making regular forays across the Swiss border into canton Valais.

There can be no doubt that their presence raises high emotions, particularly among farmers anxious to protect their livestock. The Bernese authorities said on Monday they had been sent four severed lynx feet anonymously, in a macabre protest.

Nevertheless, most of the population appear to see the beasts as welcome guests. This is the main conclusion of a survey carried out by the Link Institute on behalf of the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

It suggests that 84 per cent of Swiss people believe that the lynx should be allowed to roam the Swiss Alps. The wolf is only slightly less popular, with 71 per cent approving of its presence.

Nevertheless, the problems caused by the popular predators are recognised. Three quarters of the population are in favour of increased measures to help sheep-farmers to protect their livestock.

Such measures, the WWF says, could include employing more shepherds, setting up electric fences, and using dogs to frighten away potential maurauders.

The organisation believes that the government must provide extra funding to help farmers take the necessary steps. The lynx and the wolf, meanwhile, seem to be here to stay.

By Theo Leggett

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