PARIS (Reuters) – French forest rangers caught one of many Canadian black wolves that escaped from a natural park during flooding last month, authorities said, but they are increasingly concerned about the rest do not breed with European gray wolves.
One of the wolves was tranquilized with a dart gun overnight, after the first was picked up in mid-October, but five more and a white arctic wolf still roam the distant, hilly forests near the border. Italian in the south of France.
The wolves escaped after their enclosure was destroyed during flooding in early October.
Eric Hansen, head of the Mediterranean Biodiversity Office, said wolves must be caught soon in order to avoid mating with local European wolves and mixing of genes.
“If they can survive in the wild here, we don’t want them to interact with local wolves. Introducing alien species into an environment leads to a disaster, ”he said.
He said the wolves, born in captivity, did not know how to hunt and the rangers hoped to capture them by distributing food to them. He said they initially survived in part by eating trash, including game that hunters stored in freezers that thawed when power lines were destroyed by flooding.
“There are a lot of hunters in the valleys. We threw out a whole boar, and of course the wolves, with their keen sense of smell, could find it miles away, ”he said.
He said wolves posed no danger to humans, but he feared they would survive in the wild for a long time.
“We haven’t seen any evidence that they can feed in the wild. They haven’t shown that they can kill an animal, they can starve, ”he said.
“They used to have breakfast every morning.”