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DNA test proves wolf behind sheep attacks

DNA test proves wolf behind sheep attacks

Published: 17 Nov 2012 12:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Nov 2012 12:24 GMT+01:00

A DNA test has shown that a wolf killed the 60 sheep recently found dead on an artillery range in Skåne in the south of Sweden.

Livestock owners were shocked by the series of deadly attacks on their sheep in October and November.

"What's happening is peculiar and strange. A regular tame dog does not act this way," local sheep owner Ulf Pyk told the Ystads Allehanda newspaper at the time.

While some suspected a wolf might be behind the attack, predatory animal experts said they were "80 percent certain" that it was a dog that had been clawing and killing the sheep.

But now, a DNA test has confirmed the livestock owners' fears.

"The attacks looked like typical dog attacks, but in order to rule out the possibility of a wolf being behind them we ordered a DNA analysis," predatory animal inspector Nils Carlsson said.

The results show that it was indeed a wolf that clawed the sheep.

In one incident, 10 sheep were killed on the artillery range, which is located north of the town of Kivik. They were found in the morning, bitten to death and strewn across the field where around 1,000 sheep graze, along with horses and cows with calves. None of the other animals was injured.

After that violent night, the artillery field got increased protection, with a military hunting team as well as staff from the county administrative patrolling the area at night.

"It’s a good thing our inspectors could secure DNA-traces so that we could clear this up," said Carlsson.

"In cases where we cannot, with great certainty, confirm or rule out a wolf attack, we will use DNA-tests where possible," he added.

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