Despite serious objections, “Wolf fence” introduced to protect livestock in Friesland
The construction of a fence intended to protect livestock from wolves has started in Friesland. Former Queen's Commissioner and VVD member Hans Wiegel drove the ceremonial first pile into the ground near Boijl, on the border of Friesland and Drenthe. At the same time, numerous experts have voiced concerns over the initiative, NOS reported.
One of the initiators was a sheep farmer Jehan Bouma. Together with three other livestock farmers, he advocated for the wolf fence, which is to be placed along the entire 150-kilometer long outer border between Friesland and Drenthe. Bouma and his partners raised 30,000 euros for the first piece of the fence through crowdfunding.
It is planned to be 1.5 meters high, sloping outwards at the top. At roads and other passageways, a tunnel effect is created by running the fence about fifty meters along both sides of the road. The idea is that the wolves find it too dangerous to attempt to pass.
The province of Friesland has also denounced the plan. "A fence around Friesland is both ecologically and practically undesirable. Think of the fragmentation of nature reserves or the crossing of private land. But we see the cattle farmers' concerns. That's why we are going to look with the sector for ways to deal with the wolf," commissioner Klaas Fokkinga said.
Experts in the field of European law have criticized the initiative. "The wolf is a protected animal, and according to the European Habitats Directive you are not allowed to hunt or disturb it," says Glenn Lelieveld from the animal protection organization Mammal Society.
"I understand the fears held by sheep farmers. But the wolf is there. It is much more effective to secure a sheep pasture than an entire province."
In provinces where wolves are regularly seen, livestock farmers receive a subsidy for the purchase of wolf-resistant electrical grids. According to the initiators of the project, placing these grids around each pasture was too time-consuming and labor-intensive.