In the Lot, the farmers anxiously await the “wolf” prefect who has canceled his visit

the essential
Jean-Paul Celet, contact prefect for the national action plan on the wolf, canceled his visit scheduled for Wednesday. The breeders who had prepared the meeting have a bad taste in their mouths.

For the farmers of the Lot it is a disappointment. Jean-Paul Célet, the prefect coordinator of the national action plan on the wolf, finally did not come as planned on Wednesday. And the breeders of the department have it a bit in their throats, they who have been dealing with the presence of the wolf in the area for more than a year now. “Today, Wednesday May 31, 2023, the breeders accompanied by the profession were to receive the prefect of the Lot and the prefect in charge of the wolf in the field, for a technical visit with the aim of presenting our breeding practices to them. The prefect can finally not go to our department today, the visit is postponed”, soberly indicate in a press release, the union of sheep farmers, young farmers and the FDSEA 46.

Stéphane Pons, the president of the FDSEA of the Lot is really sick. “We worked on this file for a long time, the date was fixed, we wanted to show it the specifics of the topography of the Lot with the breeding as practiced here, on the causses, that is to say with the sheep grazing outside and tending the undergrowth” , he notes. He is categorical: “For these reasons in particular, the presence of the wolf is incompatible with our farming method, a different practice from other regions, we wanted to make them feel this reality”, he regrets. The breeders’ committee planned to work with the national wolf liaison on “these very technical matters”.

More than 300 sheep killed in one year

So yes they are disappointed. “We did not understand this last minute cancellation, overnight, we are not dejected, we have already started working with the prefect to set a new date,” explains Stéphane Pons again. The date is not yet known. However, since its arrival in the Lot in May 2022, the wolf has killed more than 300 sheep. “Some farmers still decide to keep the sheep outside, those who host them find it difficult to breed, there is therefore less grazing, less forage”, points out Stéphane Pons again.

“We would like to understand why this she-wolf has such aggressive behavior, it is the source of so many attacks, for a single animal it is still strange”, asks the president of the FDSEA. For him there is no need to mince words: there is only one solution. Delete it. “We’ve already gone beyond the measures put in place such as simplified defensive shots. It is clear that if it is effective in other departments, it is not the same for us,” he continues. Taking dogs to protect his herds? “600 would be needed in an area that goes from Labastide-Murat to Gramat. Most farmers have almost 500 sheep divided into three or four herds, it’s unmanageable,” he says. He and the others are hoping for good news from the predation rallies that have been held since Thursday in the Hautes-Alpes. In the meantime, they invite the referring prefect wolf to come and meet them as soon as possible: ” The damage is not only economic, our farmers are on their last legs, we ask for a new date as soon as possible, this meeting must take place as soon as possible”.

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