Monday, 21. April 2014 - 03:04
26. 04. 12. - 09:00
An elderly German hunter has turned himself into police and apologised after shooting dead the first wolf to be seen in the Rhineland area of the country in 123 years.
The 71-year-old has been told that a DNA test is currently being carried out on the body and if the animal he shot turns out to have been a wolf as suspected – then he faces up to 5 years in jail.
The man who was not named because of German data protection laws is the owner of woodland in the area and said he believed the animal had been a stray dog. He turned himself in after animal rights groups offered a 4,000 GBP reward to help track down the identity of the killer.
Because the wolf had been shot with a high-calibre rifle police were fairly certain it was a local hunter, who would have had to be licensed to have such weapon legally, that was to blame.
The wolf was found dead on Monday evening by walkers. After the reward was offered the hunter showed up at a police station in the small town of Montabaur in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany and admitted he had shot the animal.
A spokesman for the local hunter's association said the man had just wanted to protect the wild game on his land. "He is extremely sorry that he shot a wolf," the man said.
German conservationist society NABU is waiting for the DNA test before demanding charges against the unknown shooter. "The killing of this wolf is a malicious act," said NABU leader Leif Mueller.
Olaf Strub from NABU said: "This was a very strongly protected animal. The man faces a prison sentence of up to five years if the DNA tests confirm it was a wolf. We are already 99 per cent certain, but for charges we need to have proof. "
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