Farmers warn of damage caused by wildlife

Ljubljana – Farmers have been pointing out the serious damage caused by wild animals, as the Slovenian Forest Service (ZGS) estimates that it amounts to between EUR 400,000 and EUR 800,000 per year. The most affected region is Pomurje in the north-east, and the damage is most often caused by wild boars and deer.

The Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry has recently issued warnings of damage in agriculture caused by wild animals, particularly boars, saying that this is already threatening the survival of farms in certain cases.

The chamber expects hunters to continue the intensive culling and the state to take appropriate action, which was also the message it sent to Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek, who responded by urging the chamber to report the damage.

The ZGS’s data for the last decade show that the amount of damage is fluctuating. The statistics are strongly dominated by agricultural damage, with additional smaller proportions of damage to forests and other property, the forest service said.

In the period between 2011 and 2020, annual damage reports were between EUR 424,000 in 2016 to almost EUR 788,000 in 2013. The ZGS added that data for last year was unavailable as of yet, but the damage was expected to be among the highest in recent years.

The Agriculture Ministry’s data on compensation paid out for damage since 2001 show that the amounts paid out were below EUR 462,000 per year until 2007, while they have been well above this amount on several occasions since 2008.

Wild boar and deer usually cause the most damage – in the period between 2011 and 2020, boars accounted for an estimated 64% of all damage, deer for 32% and all other wildlife species for a total of 4%.

The situation is the most dire in the north-eastern region of Pomurje, which accounted for 55% of all assessed wildlife damage caused in Slovenia in 2020.

However, these amounts do not include damage caused by protected species such as brown bears, wolves or birds, which fall under the responsibility of the Environment Ministry.

The ZGS assessed that brown bears had caused around EUR 204,000 in damages last year, followed by songbirds with around EUR 191,000 and wolves with approximately EUR 83,000.

A total of 148 brown bears were culled in Slovenia last year, of which 128 were hunted. The total amount of wolves removed last year was six, out of which three were culled in accordance with valid permits.

No culling of wolves is planned for this year, unless the Environment Ministry finds it necessary under certain circumstances, like in the event of repeated attacks by wolves on domestic animals, which could lead to serious damage to people’s property.