Wolf attacks on the rise in tourist spots of Tuscany
Politicians in Tuscany have warned that attacks by wolves are reaching 'crisis levels' and have called on the Italian government to take action.
According to the Daily Mail, there are growing fears that the animals could attack humans and local councillor of Chianti, Antonio Gambetta Vianna, has called for a task force to tackle the packs.
'The last three attacks have occurred in broad daylight and near homes and farming buildings,' he said.
'This shows that the wolves are no longer afraid of anything.'
He added that attacks on humans would put tourists off visiting the area. Tuscany is visited by around 40 million tourists each year.
Due to the unusually cold weather, the wolves have been driven down from the Apennine Mountains and have struck livestock in Tuscany's hills and vales over the last two months, while seeming fearless of approaching farm buildings.
A number of strikes reportedly occurred in broad daylight in areas around Sienna, Lucca and Val d'Orcia.
Maurizio Forriero of Lucca Forestry Commission told the Daily Mail: 'Numbers of wolves have been on the rise spontaneously, without any help from humans.
'In the past when it was in competition with man there was a lot of illegal hunting but this has decreased.
'But when it's cold and there is a lot of snow it is hard for them to find food so they come down from the mountains.'
The heavy snowfall this month has driven wild boar and hares down into the lowlands and wolves have followed.
Alberto Focacci, of the Italian Farmers Confederation in Lucca, said the 'seriousness of the situation should not be underestimated' and that wolves have been known to savage shepherds that come between the predator and flock.
Meanwhile, NewScientist reports that there are thousands of wolves living in populated areas of Europe.
Conservation biologist Claudio Sillero at the University of Oxford told the scientific discovery magazine: 'There are wild wolves galore in Europe.
'They have recolonized vast areas of their former range and live almost unnoticed in populated areas.'
'While we think of wolves as masters of the wilderness in Europe, they thrive in human-dominated landscapes,' Sillero added.
'Over 3000 wolves live in heavily populated areas of northern Spain and Portugal, and wolves from Italy have steadily colonised southern France.'
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