Over the course of their life, lambs may be exposed to many predators such as wolves, foxes, crows and, most recently, hybrid "wolf-dogs."

Following the controversy surrounding the wolf's return to Luxembourg, the situation remains unsettling for breeders.

A growing threat?

Sheep farmers are, once again, sounding the alarm. This time, they voiced concern over hybrids wolf-dogs. The latter are much more likely to approach human dwellings than their wilder - but ultimately shyer- brothers.

According to a recent analysis of a Hamburg laboratory, the number of such hybrid wolves is increasing in Europe.

The president of the sheep and goat breeder federation, Roger Baulesch, argued that breeders are particularly worried about wolf-dogs attacking their lambs in spring.

During that season, the lambs accompany the grown sheep when they go out to graze. In case of larger herds, it becomes hard for the farmer to keep an eye on every individual animal and count his herd every day.

The national wolf plan was deemed insufficient

The federation also argued that the proposed governmental plan regarding the management of the wolf population is insufficient.

Even if the state offers subsidies, and covers for instance 75% of the cost of a protective fence, such a fence is not always sufficient to shield the sheep from wolves.

And the state aid is only available to farms that can prove that a wolf was present within a 10km radius.

A multitude of predators

Wolves and wolf-dogs are far from being the only dangerous predators for sheep. Foxes can also cause major damage. In 2017, they killed more sheep than ever before. Even though the sly animals are part of Luxembourg's natural environment, their populations must be controlled.

And then there are the crows, which sometimes attack young lambs, gouging out their eyes.

In the end, there have only been two confirmed presences of a wolf in Luxembourg, and the environment administration has highlighted that it is not an entire pack of wolves. The breeders, however, do not seem reassured.