Park boss kidnapped: France needs solutions to wolf conflict, not more policies or bloodshed

Desperate times call for desperate measures – and in France, a group of farmers have kidnapped the head of a national park after the government refused to start killing more wolves.

The Telegraph is reporting on the unusual story, noting that “bossnapping” is not new to the nation.

“Around 50 farmers took the law into their own hands on Tuesday evening by taking hostage Guy Chaumereuil, president of the National Park of Vanoise in the French Alps, along with the park’s director, Emmanuel Michau,” wrote Henry Samuel for The Telegraph.

Farmers have stated that as many as 130 of their farmed animals were attacked by wolves this summer, up from 105 last. The Telegraph noted that the government has hired a group of “trained” wolf hunters whose job is to limit the number of the canids in the area.

The article does not state that such behaviour can actually increase depredation on livestock by carnivores, a theory being given more credence with ongoing scientific study.

The only other solution being employed by the farmers and the government is the use of shepherds and livestock guardian dogs. Though with flocks as large as 1,500 sheep grazing in the unfenced areas at a time, it’s not surprising that depredation has become an issue.

What this story highlights, however, is not that compassion and co-existence are the best solution. It shows that governments, farmers, and environmentalists must work together to find true, long-term solutions. The desperation felt by these farmers, while we believe poorly displayed, is not unfamiliar. They need to be provided with multiple tools and the education to use these tools, rather than being told what current policy is, or slightly modifying said policy given the political mood of the day.

We hope that the conflict currently occurring in France is peacefully resolved – for the officials taken hostage, the farmers who are trying to make their living, and the wolves who simply want to live.

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