In the next few hours, it will be decided if the wolf that killed the pony of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will survive.
The Administrative Court of Hannover had on Friday prohibited the hunting of GW950m, as the wolf is referred to, until further notice. The reason, the court said, was an urgent motion filed by the Society for the Protection of Wolves against the shooting permit.
However, on Tuesday the court partially revoked its interim decision, once again allowing the hunting — and killing — of GW950m, a spokesperson for the Hannover region confirmed.
“In view of the large number of livestock culls in the greater Burgdorf area, which could be (genetically) assigned to the specific wolf, the damage prognosis of the Hannover region is not objectionable,” the court said in a statement, adding that “in the future it will be expected that this wolf kills grazing animals.”
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There are no obvious reasonable alternatives to the killing of the wolf, the court added. Wolves are a protected species in Europe, but governments allow for their elimination under special circumstances.
However, the shooting permit — which was exceptionally approved by the region, as reported by POLITICO — expires at the end of Tuesday. A new permit has already been applied for, a spokesperson for the Hannover region said on Tuesday, but must first be examined in detail in an entirely new procedure.
The authority did not want to provide any information about the originator of the request or the examination procedure.
This means that — for now — the wolf can only be shot on Tuesday. From midnight, GW950m will be a free wolf again.
An online petition has demanded an immediate revoking of the shooting permit for the wolf. “They are not numbers, but individuals!” it says, adding that GW950m and his mate have been given the names “Snowy” and “Zora” by conservationists.
At the time of going to press, the petition had more than 36,500 signatures.
After the court ruling, the petition’s initiator, Cian Lösch, a wolf conservation activist, said: “This is terrible news. We stay tuned and hope we can save him and other wolves.”