Thousands of sheep dead, 1,500 people evacuated, blown roofs, flooded roads and farm land was the result of three days non-stop of pouring rainfall and strong winds that punished Uruguay beginning last Friday.
The storm was particularly fierce to the north and northwest of the country where recently sheared sheep flocks could not resist the cold and constant water downpour, following an exceptional winter week in which temperature had reached 30 Celsius.
According to the regional chief from the Uruguayan Wool Secretariat Adolfo Casaretto, an estimated 30,000 sheep (ewes and lambs) so far have been reported in the northern counties of Salto, Tacuarembó, Paysandú and Artigas.
However “we are calling on sheep farmers to report all dead animals to the local police and warning the local population not to consume mutton and lamb killed by the storm”.
“We know some people are not reporting the dead animals so the number could be higher”, said Ruben Echeverría, head of Uruguay’s Rural Association, ARU, who revealed that further south in Uruguay, most dead animals were recently born lambs.
“In France, no one knows how to hunt wolves!” cried Laurent Cayrel, head of Var prefect in Provence, as he met with sheep farmers recently. Cayrel proposed that local authorities call in experienced hunters from the US and eastern Europe to try to stem the rising number of attacks on sheep.
“I wanted the hunters to feel competitive, but the idea was a serious one,” Cayrel later told the Sud-Est newspaper.
He may be joined by others in calling for armed intervention from hunters from across the pond if the so far fruitless attempts by locals to kill the wild animals continues for much longer.
Not a single wolf was killed during a recent 150-man hunt to cull the animals in the nearby military camp of Canjuers, in Provence where up to 80 percent of all wolf attacks in France have taken place. The military allows farmers to let their sheep graze on the plateau in Provence, which houses western Europe’s biggest military training ground.