For the third time this year, a wolf has found its way into the Netherlands. Officials confirmed that a lone wolf has been spotted this month on the Veluwe, centrally located in the country. The Veluwe is a large forest-rich area of several hundred square kilometres, including a Dutch nature reserve of approximately 55 square kilometres. It is home to large populations of red deer, roe deer, wild boar. Also species like foxes and badgers live in this large continuous nature reserve. It is the first time a wolf has reached the area. Previous individuals, originating from the German wolf packs, wandered off in other directions. Having the apex predator will create a shift in the local ecosystem over time. Examples from other European countries show how the wolves restore nature’s balance.
Warm welcome for the wolf
Just like the national nature organisation ‘Natuurmonumenten’, the local manager is welcoming the wolf to the area. According to the manager, the return of the wolf makes the Dutch nature more diverse and exciting. It is a great reward for every Dutch nature conservationist, he says. The provincial authorities asked the foresters to collect as much data on the animal as possible. This includes tracks, droppings, and camera traps.
Since 2013, wolves have regularly visited the Netherlands after being absent for over a decade. Currently a new wolf pack has established less than 100 kilometres from the Dutch border. Back in March, a car hit a wolf in this densely populated country. Genetic analysis showed that the wolf came from a pack nearly 200 kilometres further away. Last August, authorities confirmed that another wolf killed two sheep in the north of the country.
Will wolves find a spot?
A study indicated that there is enough space in the Netherlands to offer a home to over 20 wolf packs. Whether this wolf will decide to stay or not, we will probably find out soon. Let’s hope it will find a partner and place to create the first Dutch wolf family since more than 150 years. Maybe this wolf will meet its relative that recently visited Luxembourg, being the first wolf there since a long time.