Brabant gives farmers nets to protect sheep against wolves

Noord-Brabant is offering farmers so-called wolf-resistant nets to protect their sheep after multiple incidents of wolf attacks on sheep in the province. Farmers who want to can get the nets from the province on loan, a spokesperson for provincial deputy Elies Lemkes-Straver said to Omroep Brabant. The province is currently checking which farmers want to use these nets. 

On Tuesday morning a farmer in Hedikhuizen found 11 of his sheep killed - the third time in a week that he lost sheep in this way. On Saturday he found 20 dead sheep, and on Friday nine. DNA testing has yet to show whether the sheep were indeed killed by a wolf. But the farmer himself has no doubt. "I am 100 percent sure that it is a wolf."

Sheep farmers in the far periphery of the Maas river already contacted each other last week, after sheep were bitten to death in Gelderland's Aalst on Wednesday and in Wijk en Aalburg on Thursday, the Hedikhuizen farmer said to Omroep Brabant. "Apparently the wolf has crossed the Maas," he said. "It is just waiting for your turn."

The province also believes a wolf is behind these attacks and therefore instructed forestry association Staatsbosbeheer to place heat cameras to search for the animal. So far without success. But as more sheep were killed on Tuesday, "we are now offering the farmers in the area wolf-resistant nets on loan", Lemkes-Straver's spokesperson said to the broadcaster.

According to Martijn Lambregts of Werkgroep Wolf Nederland, wolves won't be stopped by just any net. Ideally, farmers need to place a fence with power wires at different heights - at 20 cm off the ground so the wolf can't go underneath, and then at 40, 60, 90 and 120 centimeters to prevent the animal from going over or through, he explained to the broadcaster. "Those distances were determined by Wolffencing. When combined with herd guard dogs, that has an almost 100 percent effect on the wolf."