Wolves cross-breeding with domestic dogs poses a threat to preservation of the wolf's genetic heritage. In Italy, and Emilia-Romagna especially, the EU Life programme is financing projects to tackle this issue and improve the conditions for wolf conservation. In light of this and the fact that farmers are becoming increasingly concerned at the rising number of wolves and dog-wolf cross-breeds, could the Commission reply to the following:
1. Is information on how effective these projects are and what has been achieved so far freely available for consultation by the public?
2. Have any studies been done on best practices at EU level in tackling wolf-dog cross-breeding?
3. In view of the vast size of the areas across which these animals move, does the Commission intend to draw up an action plan at EU level to tackle the cross-breeding problem and stop wolves spreading into new areas?
There have been three projects funded by LIFE that addressed the issue of wolf-dog cross-breeding and the related genetic loss of wolves. The projects are listed in the LIFE project database:
· IBRIWOLF - Pilot actions for the reduction of the loss of genetic patrimony of the wolf in central Italy (1),
· LIFE WOLFALPS – Wolf in the Alps: implementation of coordinated wolf conservation actions in core areas and beyond (2),
· LIFE MIRCO-lupo - Strategies to minimize the impact of free ranging dogs on wolf conservation in Italy (3).
The project summaries include links to the project websites that provide information to the public on project objectives and results.
Under the LIFE Ibriwolf project, several reports and guidelines have been produced and are available on the relevant website (4) for any interested party, namely the proceedings of an International conference (Grosseto 2014) and the management Guidelines (5).
The objective of the Habitats Directive (6) is to maintain or restore at favourable conservation status habitats and species of Community interest. This includes the wolf but not the hybrids. Hybridisation with dogs is a major threat for the conservation of the wolf and the Commission recommends Member States to address the hybrids' problem in accordance with the Recommendation No. 173 (2014) (7) adopted under the Bern Convention and prepared with the contribution of the Commission services. It is especially important that the relevant authorities in the Member States address the root cause of the problem that is uncontrolled, stray or free-ranging dogs.
6 Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.
7 https://wcd.coe.int/com.instra... 2654095&SecMode=1&DocId=2196762&Usage=2