STA, 18 July 2019 - The Bloke Plateau in the south of the country has been hit by a spate of wolf attacks on farm animals this summer. Touring the region on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec described the situation as a state of emergency.
A spike in attacks has been reported throughout the country after an NGO successfully challenged in court the government's 2018 decree ordering the removal of 175 bears and 11 wolves from the wild.
The government responded by drafting an emergency bill ordering the same reduction in wolf and bear populations, which was endorsed by parliament in June. However, attacks keep being reported.
Attacks have been especially frequent at Bloke, so the minister visited the region today to talk with the local government and hunting officials as well as the affected farmers.
Hearing reports from the situation on the ground, the minister said that the emergency culling had not taken place yet because the relevant law had only been adopted recently.
The minister was able to inform the farmers that Brussels agreed with Slovenia's proposal to increase the proportion of state subsidies for preventive and safety measures guarding off the attacks, such as fencing and shepherd dogs, to up to 90%.
Bears and wolves have been sighted at settled areas, the minister said, underscoring the need to restore the situation back to normal.
Organic farmer Jure Ponikvar is having major problems coping with wolf attacks. "Our herds have been pasturing in the open year round for 30 years, and we haven't had problems until this year," he said.
He said that his sheep had been attacked by wolves twice this year, and that several were killed, which was followed by an attack on horses.
Tone Smrekar from the regional division of the Forest Service said the damage caused by wolf attacks in the Bloke area increased almost ten-fold compared to last year. There have already been 23 wolf attacks so far this year, which compares to only three in the same period a year ago.