The severed head of a wolf has been found dumped at a roundabout outside an Italian village in a campaign against restoring wolf population.
The grusome find in Scansano, Tuscany, was accompanied by a placard calling for the killing of wolves and signed by "Little Red Riding Hood".
The placard was styled after construction site information signs. The object of the project was put as the "suppression of predators to restore the ecosystem", Little Red Riding Hood was listed as foreman and "worn-out citizens" as staff responsible for security.
The authors of the gruesome act also threatened to wage war against animal rights groups, which they accused of protecting the canine carnivores.
Sheep farmers in the Maremma region have long been lamenting that wolves have increased in numbers, leading to a surge in attacks against flocks.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and other groups have urged authorities to take actions against the wolf killers and blamed a local politician for arousing farmers' anger for political gain.
Enpa, the national board for animal protection, described the dead wolf as "a mafia-style warning".
"Authors of this monstrous act are not only those criminals who beheaded the animal - which belongs to a particularly protected species - but also those institutional characters who have fuelled hate against these animals," a spokesperson for Enpa said.
The wolf was the 10th to be slaughtered and dumped in a public place in the area since November.
Two weeks ago another wolf was shot dead and chopped into pieces. The severed body parts were hanged at a road bridge near the town of Grosseto.
"Those repeated acts of poaching must be condemned," said the head of WWF Italy Dante Caserta. "Under no circumstance, as difficult as it could be, they can be justified."
Wolves were almost extinct in Tuscany a few decades ago but have since repopulated the area thanks to the efforts of environmentalists and local authorities.