The "wolf of Valberg", particularly followed in the Alpes-Maritimes by the authorities, would have died.

The GPS beacon with which it was equipped was found neutralized: associations for the defense of the wolf deduce that the animal was deliberately killed by poachers.

The "wolf of Valberg", named after a village in the Alpes-Maritimes, was he killed by poachers?

Nature protection associations suspect him after the discovery of the GPS beacon, unique in France, that the animal was carrying.

This radio collar, deactivated, was discovered on January 22 in Plan-de-Baix (Drôme) in the south of Vercors, "deposited anonymously, near his home" by a former shepherd, sympathizer of several associations, explains France Nature Environnement (FNE) in a press release published on Monday.


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A very followed wolf

The Drôme branch of the French Biodiversity Office (OFB) has since confirmed that it was the one carried by the "wolf of Valberg".

In the fall of 2019, in this town in the Alpes-Maritimes where he had been seen several times, an isolated wolf cub had been captured and placed under observation by OFB agents.

Its fate later worried animal rights activists, a petition signed by more than 45,000 people demanding "official public news" of the animal.

At the end of the summer of 2020, the State announced that he had been discreetly released into the wild, equipped with a GPS tag in order to be able to locate him, and during the fall, the Departmental Federation of Hunters ( FDC 26) has announced its presence in the Drôme, with photos.

The accidental track dismissed

On December 7, on the basis of anonymous intelligence, FNE informed the OFB that the animal was "probably dead" in the south of Vercors.

The discovery of his GPS tag now leads the association to believe that he was shot by poachers.

"The fact that the collar has been neutralized so as not to emit any more, that it has been detached from the neck of the animal and that it has been placed in a specific place, reflecting a clear desire to inform the protection associations of nature, eliminates the scenario of the fortuitous discovery of the wolf accidentally killed by a vehicle, ”considers FNE.


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Angry associations

"While everyone knew the position of the 'wolf of Valberg' at the very beginning of November 2020 (information from FDC 26, massively relayed), why the sudden cessation of GPS emissions was not reported by the OFB? ", asks the association, claiming" all the light "on this affair.

Another association, Ferus, "has already announced that it is filing a complaint".

Contacted by AFP, the OFB referred to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, which only indicated that an expertise was underway on the collar "to see what can be learned from it".