7 facts you should know

Brittany has to get used to living with a monster again. So, what should we know about this mythical animal that has been seen and filmed many times in the region? Where does it come from, how much is it, where will it settle and how should you protect yourself from it? expert answers.

The presence of the monster does not leave anyone indifferent in Brittany. On the one hand, breeders are worried about its return and the consequences for their herds. On the other hand, amateur naturalists are happy to see the return of the animal that most represents wildlife. In the middle, families oscillate between admiration and fear.

We turned to animal experts to answer the big questions we’ve been asking ourselves about the wolf.

“The monster moves a lot. For me, there are two or three monsters that roam Brittany, but none of them have settled there“. Sandrine Andrieu is a spokeswoman for FERUS, the association for the protection and conservation of large carnivores. For the worm expert”According to the footage, the wolves seen in Brittany are young males between 2 and 4 years old. These young adults are solitary, so they leave their packs to establish their own territories. And it can travel very long distances before landing. For now, it is too early to say that the wolf is installed in Brittany.”

“To judge whether a monster is present in an area, its presence must be long-term” recalls Philippe Defernes, administrator of the Groupe Loup Bretagne association. This hobbyist recalls that the wolf has only been officially seen in the region since May 2022. “It is too early to know if a worm will actually settle in an area“.

Read: The return of the wolf to Brittany: Is the wolf seen near Rennes the one seen in Finistere?

It is impossible for experts to estimate the number of wolves in Brittany. “No more than two or three wolves in the area” The spokesperson of FERUS believes.

For animal experts, it’s impossible to count an extra monster with every sighting. Experts rely on predation rhythms, their locations, and then analyze where they are found to estimate the number of wolves.

“Young wolves disperse to find a place to be a refuge zone. This area should allow him to provide for his family.” Groupe Loup Bretagne association head explains. Young wolves between the ages of two and three leave a pack to grow up and raise their own families. They can travel great distances before choosing this area.

A wolf can travel up to 50 distances before settling there, closing in and defending it from other wolves. 60 kilometers in one night.

The monster has been seen and filmed several times in recent months. Recently, on January 7, 2023, near Lannion in the Ploubezre region of the Côtes d’Armor, a wolf was filmed by a young man on the side of the road before he saw it running across a field.

On November 8, 2022, a wolf was photographed in Gowen, near Rennes.

And the first image of a wolf officially identified in Brittany after more than a century of absence in Finistere in Berrien in the Monts d’Arrée, May 4, 2022. The gray wolf was filmed by an automatic camera of the Bretagne association. Vivant.

Find the locations and dates of the wolf’s appearance in the region on this map.

France currently has 1,000 wolves in the area. The vast majority is in the southeast of the area: in the Alps and close to the Italian border.

“French wolves are of Italian origin” FERUS specialist provides detailed information. “In 1970, there were only 100 wolves left near Rome. The species was protected and has been growing ever since. It crossed the Alps in 1992, and since then it has been slowly spreading across France, even if wolves remain mostly in the Southeast.

The wolf is often associated with forests. However, Brittany is one of the least forested regions of France. So can he be happy in our region? Some experts think so.

“The monster is adaptable, it’s a very plastic animal” Sandrine Andrieu from the FERUS association testifies. “Proximity to the city is not a problem. The worm needs to find a quiet place to be predatory enough and reproduce. In the Alps, he can even eat in the garbage cans near the resorts.

“The wolf adapts very well to the coast, plains, swamps” Adds Philippe Defernes from Groupe Loup Bretagne. “He doesn’t need forests, he adapts. Wild boars abound in the region, roe deer are ubiquitous, and deer abound. These animals are the favorite prey of wolves.”

The monster gives an aggressive image, it is the image of “big bad monster” in literature. To prevent this fantasy, the FERUS association, which worked on the wolf after returning to France in 1992, reminds that “the wolf never showed the slightest aggression towards people after returning to France.”

“A monster is an animal that is afraid of man. “If you face the monster, it will run away.” The monster sees the man from a distance and avoids all encounters. “If you encounter a wolf in Britain, it’s a very rare chance”Encourages Sandrine Andrieu from FERUS association.

If this happens, “Don’t point and shout. We look at the face of the animal and quietly retreat. He will go first” assures the expert.

A wolf will not refuse a very easy prey that presents itself as a chicken or a sheep. To avoid poaching of this protected species, wolf protection units are conducting a conservation campaign with electric fence, shepherd dog and shepherd’s assistant.

“This is the defense triptych promoted by the FERUS association. Fences provide protection, but legislation in France only funds electric wires up to 80cm high. A wolf can walk over it. In Germany, the legislation is 1m20. It’s more protective now.” Sandrine Andrieu regrets.

“Good policy for wolves protects wolves from unnecessary poaching.” Active reminds that if a wolf is killed by a hunter, it will take someone else’s territory. “The best solution is good policy for wolves and breeders.”

In Brittany, after attacks on sheep in the Monts d’Arrée, Plan Loup was established in Finistère. The department allows reimbursement of aid for animals killed and release of credits for equipment such as fences or deterrents and herding dogs.

The department of Côtes d’Armor allows assistance in the purchase of guard dogs for flocks of more than 25 sheep or goats after a sheep attack.

“Killing a wolf is like killing a bear” The spokesperson of FERUS recalls. “This act is punishable by 150,000 euros and two years in prison, even though poachers are rarely arrested.”

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