Wolves in Europe
A wolf is a predator, many people are afraid of wolves, but a wolf rarely attacks a human. Wolves used to live in the Netherlands, but that has not been the case for a long time. Nevertheless, it is predicted that wolves will return to the Netherlands within a few years. The big question is whether there is enough nature for the wolf in the Netherlands, because wolves have a very large territory.
A wolf is a mammal belonging to the predators. A wolf is very social and lives in groups called packs. There is a clear ranking in the pack, where the boss is called alpha. The wolf is the dog’s only ancestor. A wolf’s hearing, smell and sight are very well developed. They can detect prey from 300 meters. Wolves can also see very well in the dark. A wolf prefers to hunt larger animal species such as deer, hares and birds. Hunting works best when the pack consists of more than four animals.
Many people have a negative image of wolves, but this is not necessary. First, a wolf will rarely attack a human. Wolves that live in the vicinity of humans can cause problems, but are not likely to attack humans. Problems that can be considered are that the cattle are being attacked, the stable cat or the guard dog. Wolves can also mess up garbage bags. This causes a lot of negativity in humans. However, if few adjustments are made, the wolf will look elsewhere for food. With adjustments you can think of better fences around the site and keep the waste in containers. The negative image has been fueled even more as wolves are often described in fairy tales, movies and stories as a dangerous animal that attacks humans. The story Little Red Riding Hood is a good representation of this.
A wolf lives in packs and usually there are two alphas, a male and female. The rest of the wolves are often descendants of the alphas. A pack is actually a kind of family. The offspring generally remain in the pack for about two years. The food supply in particular determines the size of the pack, where food is scarce, groups often consist of the alphas and their cubs. Where there is a lot of food, such as in Alaska (moose), the packs sometimes consist of thirty animals. The packs each have their own territory, their habitat and hunting area. The size of the territory depends on the supply of food, but then vary from 200 to 2,000 km². Territories in the Alps measure 350 km², but in Alaska they are many times larger. Lonely wolves in search of a mate or a new territory can travel great distances, from tens of kilometers to more than a thousand kilometers.
Wolves in Europe
Wolves were once very common in Europe. But humans have reduced their habitat and in some countries the wolf has been completely wiped out. Much of the wolf’s habitat has decreased because people started building houses and businesses and the wolf itself has been extirpated by the negative image of humans. Fortunately, more and more people realize that wolves are not very dangerous and how best to deal with them. The wolf is therefore on the rise again. In Europe they occur in France, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Russia, Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Kosovo, Austria and Switzerland. That they will come to the Netherlands and Belgium is therefore inevitable. In many countries, the wolf is a protected animal, to prevent history from repeating itself.
Wolves in the Netherlands
According to expectations, there should already have been wolves in the Netherlands, because wolves have been living in Germany for years and they migrate about 20 to 50 kilometers west per day. The population in Germany has not grown either, so clearly something is going wrong. Probably some wolves were shot, hit or moved further east. In Germany the wolves are closely monitored and at least thirteen are missing. Appearing in the Netherlands is not impossible, because the wolves look very much like sheepdogs and it is therefore possible that the wolves move unobtrusively in the Netherlands. In 2010, a wolf was spotted 100 kilometers from the Dutch border. In 2012, a dead wolf was found near Cologne. A nest was also observed near Munster in 2012.
In the year 1800 wolves appeared in reasonable numbers in the Netherlands. The last time a wolf was observed in the Netherlands was in 1897 in Heeze, North Brabant. It is expected that the wolf can be observed in the Netherlands at any time, they are getting closer. The question is whether the wolf has a good chance of survival in the Netherlands. However, researchers think that the wolf can survive in the agricultural landscape. The chance that you will see a wolf is very small. In Gelderland, a wolf had been spotted in 2011 with 95% certainty. In 2011, a wolf was also spotted in Belgium, in the province of Namur, by the television program Dieren in Nesten.
The most suitable area for wolves in the Netherlands is the Veluwe, but the northern provinces are also a good habitat. Many wild boars, deer and deer live here. The wolf can keep the wild stock in the Netherlands up to standard. It is not that wolves wipe out all animals, because they all take the weak ones. The Netherlands is not too small for wolves, there is room for about 100 wolves. Wolves sometimes also live in the big cities abroad, so that cannot be ruled out.
Of course, a number of rules will have to be made up and preparations have to be made. Because the livestock must of course be protected and it must also be clarified whether farmers will receive compensation if livestock are killed.
Danger to humans
Many people still think very negatively about wolves, but more than …% see it positively when wolves will live in the Netherlands again. The other percentage is almost certain that wolves are dangerous. Of course a wolf can easily attack a person, especially a child is an easy ‘prey’. In practice, however, it has turned out that a wolf usually flees from a human. Many cases have been recorded of humans falling prey to wolves, but if you compare this to other predators of the same size, the wolf makes few victims. Of all attacks that do take place, more than half of the cases are rabid wolves. The dog also makes a few fatalities every year, so it is unnecessary to say right now that a wolf is a danger to humans. Humans and children are often attacked by wolves when they get close to the nest. In North America, where some 60,000 wolves live, humans are rarely attacked.
Plus what many people don’t fully realize is that every year many people go on vacation to areas where wolves live. Without realizing it, they take long walks there or have a nice rest in the wolf’s territory and they do not notice his presence. Many people already show that it is good to live with wolves and the chance that you actually encounter the wolf is very small.