VIDEO. Lot: the wolf suspected of new attacks on sheep, breeders at the end

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State services now report 16 attacks, 31 animals killed and 33 injured. The wolf is accused in particular of having done further damage to the Bastit. About fifteen breeders are concerned… and worried. Wolf hunting lieutenants take turns every night to watch over their pastures.

For the past month, the wolf has been haunting the Causses du Lot, from Coeur-de-Causse to Reilhac via Lunegarde. In Bastit, the breeders accuse the blow. Three attacks in one week is too much. “It started a month ago, the sheep were tight in the throat, at first we thought they were stray dogs”, begins by telling Guillaume Bouyssou, sheep breeder at the Gaec de Cance Bas. He has, with his parents, 1500 ewes on nearly 500 hectares. His farming neighbors also discovered, in the early morning, their sheep with bruises and traces of blood on their necks. One of them, Cyril Garrigues then installed a dozen CCTV cameras around his farm in Tartayrou. And a few days later, on the screen, in black and white, the wolf appears. The French biodiversity office analyzes its images and confirms: there is indeed a wolf in the Lot.

The department triggers the wolf plan. On June 22, seven attacks were recorded, 22 animals found dead and 20 others injured. But since then, the wolf has struck again. The Lot prefecture now has 16 attacks, seven more in one week. 31 animals were killed, 33 are injured. In Bastit, the animal is accused of having killed three ewes in the night from Monday to Tuesday. “Tuesday morning, we discovered them near the building, with the same traces in their throats”, comments Guillaume Bouyssou annoyed. Already two attacks in one month on this family farm. To avoid risks, farmers must pen their ewes indoors. “We take them out a little in the morning then a little in the evening, but that’s all, at a time when they are supposed to be outdoors all the time, it’s terrible”, regrets Cyril Garrigues. He found ten dead sheep after four attacks in one month. Since then, they have been locked up in his shed grazing what is left of last winter’s fodder. “While they are supposed to graze the grass, we are hitting the winter hay stocks, at this rate, we will soon have nothing left,” he confides. “Not all the ewes fit inside, those who are sheltered have to huddle together, it’s not ideal,” he says.

The louveterie lieutenants supervise from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Supervise his 1500 ewes dispersed in 15 flocks every night? A work of Titan. “It’s impossible, the areas of the causse are hilly and fragmented, we can’t cover our 500 hectares every evening”, he adds. The last round he makes since the presence of the wolf: at 11 p.m. When he returns home, with a heavy heart, two volunteer lieutenants take over and keep watch until 2 o’clock in the morning. There, two other lieutenants take over until 6 o’clock. “They have a watch and defense mission, they are authorized to shoot if the beast is within the protected perimeter, otherwise they make noise and can carry out simplified defensive shots to dissuade the wolf from approaching”, explains Jean -Pascal Lebreton, Director of the Departmental Directorate of Territories in the Lot. According to him, these scare shots have recently prevented an attack. A surveillance round, the guarantee of security for breeders? “We don’t sleep on both ears, however,” replies Didier Bouyssou. So what more do you need to do? “A search can only be organized as a last resort, we are going to increase the security measures crescendo”, assures the director of the DDT.

In the meantime, breeders are coping. “We have animals still traumatized by the attacks, some ewes have aborted and others have given birth earlier than expected because of their fears”, underlines Cyril Garrigues. He took care of his wounded sheep himself. But don’t plan to put bandages on a wooden leg all summer. “We don’t want it here, but for them to capture it and take it elsewhere will only shift the problem,” he admits. In the meantime, each time night falls, fear resumes on the causse.

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