North Rhine-Westphalia has regulated the handling of so-called problem wolves more clearly than before.

According to a new wolf ordinance passed by the state cabinet, not only is active deterrence permitted, for example with rubber bullets, warning or scare guns, artificial light sources or mirrors, but also in extreme cases the shooting of individual animals, which actually enjoy the highest level of protection under the Federal Nature Conservation Act.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, migratory wolves were observed for the first time in 2009.

Since then, several animals have settled.

There are currently four wolf areas in the most populous federal state on the Lower Rhine, in East Westphalia, the Eifel and in the Oberbergisches Land.

There were 40 attacks by wolves on farm animals - mostly sheep, but increasingly also small horses - in NRW alone in the past year.

With more than half of the cases, the wolf area on the Lower Rhine was particularly affected.

A shepherd from there sued in vain last year for the shooting of problem wolf Gloria.

The North Rhine-Westphalian Environment Minister Ursula Heinen-Esser (CDU) had repeatedly pointed out in recent months that the much-vaunted coexistence of wolves and humans on the Lower Rhine does not work.

"The pack of wolves there is incredibly stressful for citizens, shepherds, farmers and pony owners," the minister confirmed in the "Rheinische Post".

With its revised wolf ordinance, Heinen-Esser is based on Lower Saxony law.

Accordingly, adult wolves can now also be scared off in North Rhine-Westphalia if they repeatedly approach people who are not in a car or a perch at a distance of less than 30 meters.

According to the new ordinance, a wolf may be "removed", i.e. shot, if it "injures a person, pursues him unprovoked or has shown himself aggressively towards him in any other unprovoked way and cannot be scared away or upset" or if a "serious economic damage" threatens.

However, the supreme nature conservation authority must first confirm that there is a risk situation.

It is therefore not possible to foresee whether problem wolf Gloria will soon be shot under the new law.