Wolves stop swine fever

Wolves stop swine fever

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African swine fever spreads among wild boars in Europe, and German farmers fear that domestic pigs will also become infected. Studies have now shown that wolf areas are virtually free from swine fever - because wolves are the first to tear sick animals.

Alarm in Lower Saxony

In Lower Saxony, the anti-welfare hunt for wild boar is now to curtail their population - the shooting of mother animals, which is prohibited in the Federal Hunting Act, as well as the prohibited shooting of animals from the car.

Fear of loss of sales

Lower Saxony is “pig country” with around 8 million domestic pigs. Two thirds of the meat is exported. If domestic pigs in Germany contract the disease, importers such as China, Japan or South Korea would presumably immediately impose an import ban.

Senseless killings?

Animal rights activists criticize the mass killings of wild boars not only as unethical, but also as senseless, even contrary to current hunting law. The hunters simply kill all the wild boars they hit - instead of the sick.

Carrier: farmers and hunters

Wild boars in Central Europe hardly transmit the virus directly to domestic pigs, since they have no contact with their wild ancestors in industrial animal husbandry. The contagion, however, runs through humans: farmers who are also hunters can drag the pathogen into the stables if it sticks to their clothing, agricultural vehicles, tools and machines.

Plague fighter wolf

Wolves hunt with the least effort. That is why they stick to sick, young or old animals in wild boar. When a plague breaks out among the prey, the wolf automatically attacks the individuals weakened by the pathogen.

Prey boar

Wild boars are prey to big cats like tigers and leopards. Bears also occasionally kill one of the animals. In Germany there is only one animal prey that regularly hunts wild boar: the wolf.

Slovak wolves ensure healthy pigs

Two studies from Slovakia (affected by (classic) swine fever) showed that the areas of the wolf pack remained almost free of swine fever. 93 percent of all swine fever cases were recorded outside the wolf area, even with a high density near the wolf areas, and only seven percent within the wolf areas - and these mostly near the wolf pack border.

Symptoms of swine fever

Affected animals suffer from general weakness and fatigue. They have a high fever, their conjunctiva becomes inflamed, and they hardly eat. You lie a lot and have breathing problems. Cramps, twitches and a fluctuating gait are typical. In short: they lose their vigilance towards predators, can no longer flee from wolves or can defend themselves. For hungry wolves, this is a sixth in the lottery.

Can humans replace the wolf?

The Slovak studies clearly showed that the epidemic also spread where there was high hunting pressure from humans. Although it can neither be proven nor disproved whether the spread slowed down due to human hunting, it is clear: the hunter wolf works much better as a “doctor of the wild” than the hunter human.

Protect wolves instead of spreading hatred

Lower Saxony now has at least 18 wolf packs, and their territories overlap with centers of pig fattening between Hanover and Bremen. In the domestic wolves, wild boar after roe deer is at the top of the menu. The local pig farmers have the best protection against the plague in the woods on their doorstep: his name is Wolf.

Wash instead of shoot wolves

Lower Saxony's new environment minister, Olaf Lies, however, ignores basic knowledge of wolf behavior and uses the propaganda of a wolf hunter lobby, which only wants to achieve one thing with hate fantasies, animal phobias and invented wolf attacks: shoot down wolves. However, if farmers want to protect their pigs from the plague and are at the same time hunters, they should first let the wolves do their job as a health police and secondly be careful not to drag potential pathogens into the stables. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Source: on December 7th, 2018: "Wolfpacks manage disease outbreaks", accessed on December 7th, 2018

Author and source information

Video: 20,000 pigs culled amid African swine fever outbreak (May 2022).


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