Quantcast

Wolves ‘Established’ in Netherlands for First Time in 140 Years

Animals
This Europese wolf was photographed at Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands in 2014. Tim Strater / CC BY-SA 2.0

For the first time in 140 years, wolves have an official home in the Netherlands.

Ecologists told BBC Radio 4 that a female wolf they had been tracking had stayed in the country for six months and could therefore be called "established," BBC News reported Tuesday.


The ecologists had been tracking two females in the Hoge Veluwe nature reserve, which has now been designated as a wolf habitat, Dutch News reported. There is also evidence that a male wolf has been moving in and out of the area, and scientists told BBC that the wolves could form a pack within months.

Ecologist Hugh Jansman of Wageningen University, who had been commissioned to investigate wolves in the area, told Dutch News their return would benefit the local ecosystem.

"We shoot 50% of deer and 80% of boar to maintain a socially acceptable level. I think the wolves could do a lot of good," he said.

But park director Seger Emmanuel baron van Voorst tot Voorst disagreed.

"We are working hard on a daily basis to maintain the unique ecological balance of the park," he told EenVandaag, as Dutch News reported. "There will be big consequences if we let the wolves in."

The return of wolves to many European countries has been controversial. Most were driven out by hunting in the nineteenth century but have returned in recent years, BBC News reported. Since wolves returned to France from Italy in 1992, there have been 12,000 incidents reported of wolves attacking goats or sheep. Farmers have turned to protective measures like guard dogs or electric fencing, and can receive compensation from the government if these measures are in place and their flocks are still attacked.

Ecologist Roeland Vermeulen of Wolven in Nederland said that settled wolf populations were actually more likely to attack wild animals like deer or boar and that sheep were like "junk food" for transient or inexperienced wolves.

The first wolves entered the Netherlands from Germany in 2015, and four were sighted between November 2018 and January 2019, Dutch News reported.

Wolves killed 138 sheep in the Netherlands in the first half of 2018, BBC News reported, but experts noted that dogs kill around 13,000 sheep a year.

Ranger Leo Linnartz told Dutch News that the Netherlands was "an outstanding place" for wolves, but said that local and national governments should help farmers adjust. "We've learned from Germany that wolves can be taught that catching sheep is pointless," he said.

Vermeulen told the BBC Radio 4 that he thought the country had room for 22 packs of five to eight wolves each.


EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Individual standing in Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage. Jill Carlson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis

Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Read More Show Less
A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.

Read More Show Less
Ten feet of water flooded 20 percent of this Minot, North Dakota neighborhood in June 2011. DVIDSHUB / CC BY 2.0

By Jared Brey

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle last October, it killed at least 43 people, caused an estimated $25 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.

Read More Show Less
A protestor holds up her hand covered with fake oil during a demonstration on the U.C. Berkeley campus in May 2010. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Forest fire continues to blaze in Indonesesia on Sept. 18. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Indonesia over their possible connections to the massive wildfires raging in the nation's forest, officials said this week.

Read More Show Less

By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.

Read More Show Less
Covering Climate Now / YouTube screenshot

By Mark Hertsgaard

The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."

Read More Show Less