Dutch nature reserve moving mouflons abroad to protect them from wolves
De Hoge Veluwe National Park is temporarily moving part of its mouflon herd abroad to protect them from the she-wolf believed to be somewhere in the park. The wild sheep will return once the wolf is gone. The mouflons staying on De Hoge Veluwe will be placed behind a wolf-resistant fence.
According to the head of operations, Jako Leidekker, these measures are necessary because a she-wolf has already attacked and killed dozens of mouflons. The she-wolf entered the nature reserve in the summer through a hole in the fence and now seems to be in the woods there. De Hoge Veluwe is against the wolf's return to the Veluwe and wants to remove the animal from the park. But as the wolf is a heavily protected species, this requires intensive consultations with the governments.
The mouflons have been living in the park for a hundred years. Former owner Anton Kroller got the wild sheep from Corsica. The mouflon was able to survive well in the Netherlands. The herd in the Hoge Veluwe now consists of about 200 animals. The mouflons are essential for biodiversity because they graze grass between the heath. If that didn't happen, the heath would overgrow with grass and trees, and eventually, the heathland and sand drifts would disappear.
Usually, the mouflons roam freely through the over 5,000 hectares of the nature reserve. De Hoge Veluwe shoots several animals every year to keep the population within limits. That will not happen this year, according to Leidekker, because of the wolf attacks.
Reporting by ANP