Wolves get close to centre of Rome

Italian farmers raise alarm over wolf sightings around Rome however experts reject claims.

Wolves are being sighted "within a few kilometres of the centre of Rome" according to Confagricoltura, the Italian agricultural organisation.

There are increasing reports of wolf sightings in the Appia Antica Park, in Maccarese, at the Decima Malafede Reserve, in Bassa Maremma, and the Castelli Romani, says Vincenzino Rota, president of the Rome branch of Confagricoltura.

Describing it as an "unusustainable situation", Rota has called for the wolf population to be "carefully monitored and brought back to its natural areas", amid claims that the wolves are killing farm animals and pose a threat to humans.

Rota has also called for authorities to address and combat the "phenonmenon of wolf-dog hybrids and strays" which are causing problems for farmers.

Rota's claims of increased wolf numbers and attacks on farm animals have, however, been rejected by experts and by the Appia Antica regional park authority.

Luigi Boitani, professor of animal ecology at the La Sapienza University of Rome, told Italian news agency ANSA: "The wolves in the woods around the capital have been there for years - in Tolfa, in Castel di Guido, in the Castelli. From what we know, they have done some damage to the Veio park, but this is nothing new."

Wolves became protected in Italy in 1971 after the species faced extinction. Italy now has an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 wild wolves, centred mainly in the Apennines and Alps mountain regions.

The she-wolf, or lupa, is the symbol of Rome and is often depicted in art suckling the city's mythical twin founders, Romulus and Remus.

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Wolves get close to centre of Rome

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