Netherlands home to nine wolf packs: 39 pups born this spring
There are currently nine wolf packs in the Netherlands. Seven packs are located in and around the Veluwe region, while the other two groups are in Drenthe and the border region between Drenthe and Friesland. They have together produced a minimum of 39 pups this spring, according to BIJ12, the agency responsible for handling wolf-related issues for the provinces.
The agency noted that the exact number of wolves in the Netherlands remains uncertain, as not every wolf can be identified through DNA due to a lack of traces.
Between May and August this year, BIJ12 received 65 reports of wolves causing damage to livestock. In 41 instances, it was confirmed that a wolf was responsible for the damage. Twelve of the reports turned out to be dog attacks.
Most of these reports, 30 to be exact, came from Drenthe. There is a significant protest movement against wolves in this province, where measures protect them from being disturbed, driven away, or shot. Wolves were found to be responsible for 20 of the 30 attacks in Drenthe.
Meanwhile, in Gelderland, where there are many more wolves, BIJ12 received eight damage reports. A wolf was responsible for one, and dogs for three.
The wolf that was shot by a recreational farmer in Wapse, Drenthe in July had attacked livestock six different times, according to BIJ12 figures. In one case, the wolf attacked a pony. The DNA of its parents was identified in 13 damage incidents. This pair birthed seven new pups this spring.
The Public Prosecution Service is still investigating the shooting. It is unclear whether the wolf was defending itself or if it attacked the farmer. Four complaints have been filed against the man over the shooting of the wolf. If deemed illegal, the farmer could be sent to prison for up to three years.
Wolves seem to have permanently returned to the Netherlands since 2018. Besides the wolves from the nine packs, two were spotted in Utrechtse Heuvelrug between May and August. There is also a lone wolf in De Groote Heide in Noord-Brabant, and there appears to be a female wolf on the border of Brabant and Flanders. Wolves have also been spotted in Limburg and Groningen.
The Wolf Reporting Center (Wolvenmeldpunt) from the association Wolven in Nederland (Wolves in the Netherlands) received 1,272 wolf sightings. In 478 of those reports, it was indeed a wolf, BIJ12 confirmed.
Reporting by ANP