Half of people are happy to see wolves return to Netherlands; A fourth say wolves don't belong
Not everyone is happy that wolves are returning to the Netherlands. A quarter of Netherlands residents think that the predator does not belong in the Netherlands. Just under half believe that the animal species should be welcome here. Data press agency LocalFocus, part of the ANP, reported this based on a survey conducted in collaboration with Kieskompas.
Many people who are less optimistic about the wolf's return live in provinces where the animal already roams and is causing damage. Wolves have attacked animals like sheep and goats in Drenthe, Overijssel, and Noord-Brabant. Most people in those provinces think that the wolf does not belong in the Netherlands. In Drenthe, almost 38 percent don't agree that the wolf belongs in the Netherlands. In both Overijssel and Noord-Brabant, this is nearly 33 percent.
Opinions are divided in Gelderland, where wolves now have a territory. A third think that the animal does not belong here. Almost 50 percent think it does. Friesland residents are not necessarily very positive but also not particularly negative towards the wolf. A foundation wants to put up a kilometers-long fence in the province to protect the many sheep and cows against wolf attacks. In Zuid-Holland, where no wolves have been spotted yet, Flevoland, and Utrecht, most people are optimistic about the animal.
A wolf was first spotted in the Netherlands in 2015, at least 150 years after the animal was last seen in the wild in our country. The animal has since established itself in multiple places in the country. The wolf is a protected species in Europe. In the first ten months of 2021, implementation organization BIJ12 recorded 58 wolf attacks on farm animals. In all of 2020, there were 95 attacks. Victims can go to BIJ12 for compensation if a wolf bites a sheep or other farm animal to death.
LocalFocus and Kieskompas held the survey among 5,200 Netherlands residents aged 18 and older between 25 November and 1 December 2021.
Reporting by ANP