Advice for Germans on coexisting with wolves
The German government is opening a centre to collect information and offer advice about the country's growing wolf population.
The new agency will monitor the animals' movements across Germany and consult local authorities on how to deal with dangers posed by the predator, an environment ministry statement says. It's planning to spend 425,000 euros (£333,000) over three years on the centre, located in the eastern Saxony town of Goerlitz, the NDR public broadcaster reports.
The wolf's return to Germany a century after being hunted to extinction "is a great success for us conservationists", says Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. "But it is also a great challenge because in many places man and wolf have to learn again how to coexist."
On Wednesday, a local parliament committee in Lower Saxony debated the issue of what to do if you are approached by a wolf, in response to residents' concerns about the animals' presence in the area.
Despite demands from some farmers, shooting the animals it is not an option because the wolf is still an endangered species in Germany. According to Tagesspiegel, at the moment there are 31 wolf packs, 18 couples and 16 sedentary individual wolves present in the country.
Even though wolves rarely approach people, Beate Jessel from the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation says the new centre must minimise risks by explaining how to behave in front of the animals. "The wolf isn't the problem - it's how we act around it," she says.
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