Three wolves living on Veluwe, researchers say

Between November last year and January this year there were four wolves in the Netherlands. Three of them are living on the Veluwe. The fourth roamed in Overijssel for a while, but has since returned to Germany, according to Wageningen Environmental Research, a research institute at Wageningen University, RTL Nieuws reports.

Of one of the animals - she-wolf GW998f - it is certain that she has settled in the Netherlands. The she-wolf has been observed in the northern part of the Veluwe for at least six months. According to researchers, this means that she has chosen this region as her habitat. 

Over the past three months feces of another she-wolf, GW960f, has been collected in and around Midden-Veluwe. This she-wolf was first spotted in the area in August 2018. 

A male wolf also recently popped up on the Veluwe. Wolf GW893m appeared in the Netherlands for the first time on January 6th. In the following weeks, signs of the wolf were found in the northern parts of the Veluwe, in she-wolf GW998f's habitat. "There is a chance that they met", ecologist Hugh Jansman of Wageningen Environmental Research said.

The fact that wolves are resettling in the Netherlands is no reason for fear, wolf expert Glen Lelieveld of Wolven in Nederland said to the broadcaster. If you encounter a wolf, you should be "very happy", he said. "Seriously, encountering a wolf is really rare, one won't just appear in front of you. Especially because it is a wild, flighty animal. They avoid all risks and walk the other way when they see a human being."

According to Lelieveld, the idea that wolves are scary mainly come from fairy tales and from the distant past, when wolves were a problem in the Netherlands. "In that time wolves still sometimes had rabies and in the last phase of that virus they bite everything they come across. But luckily that virus has long been fought."

It is still safe to walk and play in the woods, Lelieveld said. "As people live during the day and wolves especially at night, there is small chance that you will encounter a wolf while building a hut. Wolves do not like humans. We are dangerous in their eyes, because we can kill them." If you walk your dog in the woods Lelieveld advises keeping him or her on a leash. "It can happen that if a dog encounters a wolf, it will run after it. And if that happens for long enough, the wolf will become irritated. He will then bite defensively, as if saying leave me alone. And the dog will not win."

If you do encounter a wolf, take a video or a photo so that experts can determine whether the animal is indeed a wolf, Lelieveld said. "And that is good news. Because the wolf is good for Dutch nature. He mainly eats weak, old roe deer and boars. That is good for the natural population", Lelieveld said.