French Police Probe Trade in Wolf Heads

'There are people out there who dream of having a stuffed wolf head in their living room wall'

IOL / Sapa-AFP / Environment / January 3, 2004

A preliminary enquiry was launched two weeks ago after hikers found the headless carcass of a wolf hidden beneath a pile of branches, according to the local Midi Libre daily.

"There are people out there who dream of having a stuffed wolf head in their living room wall. If there is a trade going on, it would be extremely serious. Dead or alive, the wolf is a protected species," said Christian Hosy of France Nature Environment.

Around 100 wolves live in semi-liberty at the Gevaudan park. Any that die are supposed to be incinerated at a veterinary clinic.

Pierre Spirito, the park's manager, told Liberation that he had conducted an internal investigation and there was no evidence of wrong-doing among the 20 employees.

Wolves disappeared from the wild in France before World War II, but have recently been reintroduced to parts of the Alps where their presence is fiercely resented by local sheep-farmers. - Sapa-AFP