Italian farmers slaughter wolves in protest

Farmers in Tuscany are illegally killing wolves and leaving the carcasses in villages and towns in a form of protest against the deaths of their livestock.

Italian farmers slaughter wolves in protest
Italian farmers are killing wolves in protest against the deaths of their livestock. Photo: FurLined/Flickr

The two most recent victims of the massacre were caught in illegal snares in the Scansano hills before being shot – and then left abandoned in the street, bringing the total number of wolves killed in the region since November 2013 to at least eight, La Repubblica reported. Two wolf-dog hybrids were also killed last week in Saturnia and Manciano.

Local police are investigating the killings, which violate both European and Italian law and have been strongly decried by animal rights campaigners. Last week saw 1,500 animal activists gather in Grosseto for a protest against the wolf killings.

Marco Sabatini, vice-president of the Grosseto province, told La Repubblica: “For some time we have led programmes both for the protection of wolves and the safeguarding of farms against attacks from predators. I strongly condemn those who choose to carry out their own illegal form of justice by killing the wolves.”

He said the perpetrators were guilty of "gratuitous violence", adding that with the public dumping of the wolves' bodies, the killings were an attempt to intimidate those working for projects such as Ibriwolf, which seeks to protect wolves and wild dogs. 

The Italian wolf population dropped to just 100 in the 1970s, but since then a ban on hunting wolves has allowed numbers to creep back up to an estimated 1000.

This has had a damaging effect on farmers' livestock and livelihood, with a report from Italian farmers' organization Coldiretti estimating that in 2013, wolves were responsible for the slaughter of 3,000 sheep, as well as goats, ponies and cows.

"Wolves attacked my animals three times in December,” farmer Franco Mattei told La Repubblica. “On the third occasion, I killed the wolf.”

Italian law allows farmers to apply for compensation from the government if they lose livestock to wolves, but this can take several months to come through, leading many to take matters into their own hands.

“It shouldn't just be the farmers who pay the price of predators living alongside domestic livestock,” said Stefano Massini from Coldiretti.

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 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.