Note: This article contains images that could be considered shocking.
Dairy farmer Roland Brink of Drenthe knows all about it. At the beginning of September, a pregnant little finger was killed on his farm in Zwiggelte. After the investigation, the farmer recently received confirmation: the animal was attacked by a wolf.
Cattle have also been bitten to death on other farms in the area. Often in the same way, although in most cases it has not been officially confirmed that he was a wolf.
So Roland’s stable is closed from now on, with all sorts of consequences for his livestock. He still feels safe on his farm, but when he or his girlfriend walks the dog, they hesitate a bit. “A wolf has also been seen in the woods where we are walking. You will only meet one. You have no idea what he will do.”
“fabric is bleeding”
Roland could get a subsidy from the government to put up a fence around his land. However he does not. My country is too big to be completely blocked. It will only be partially supported. In addition, I love nature and do not want to hinder other animals such as deer. I also doubt it would really stop the wolf. To me, this is all just a rag to bleed, I’d rather see the wolf disappear completely.”
But according to Maurice La Haye of the Mammal Society, these measures are effective. His organization monitors the presence of the wolf. According to him, the number of wolves in Philoy is much greater than in Drenthe and there are fewer accidents. There are several reasons for this, he says, but it is clear that the sheep breeders and farmers in Feloy have already taken more precautions.
There seems to be less enthusiasm for this in Drenthe at the moment. According to La Haye, there is a rancher who has been visited by a wolf seven times and has not taken any action. He wonders why it didn’t happen.
He already points out that it is difficult for many livestock keepers to take measures, as the government focuses mainly on sheep in its approach. This while it now appears that other animals are the victims of the wolf.
La Haye finds the fear of encountering a wolf up close, like farmer Roland, understandable, but unfortunate. It indicates that wolves are shy and will avoid humans. However, they can use our roads and footpaths. He can’t rule it out completely, but he does mention that in the past 20 years, only four cases have been identified in Europe of wolves attacking people. Also, it was only when wolves were really used to people, and that’s how I got close.
This farmer Roland isn’t the only one worried, and he showed up last Monday during a meeting of farmers and citizens in Westerfield in Drenthe. Drenzi Deputy Henk Gummelier was also present and heard many residents who were afraid to walk their dogs or let their children play in the woods.
Gomelet notes in his work that he constantly balances different interests and opinions. There are farmers and concerned citizens who want us to do something about it and people who want us to leave the wolf alone. As a county, we are trying to take precautionary measures. For example, we install fences and check whether the existing habitat is sufficient for a wolf. Is there enough room for all the wolves and is there enough to eat? “
European legislation also plays a role. The wolf is classified as a protected animal by the European Union. This means that hunting or hunting the animal is not actually possible, only in cases of severe problems.
These problem situations are, for example, when a wolf exhibits risky behavior to people or attacks well-protected livestock multiple times, says ecologist Hugh Jansmann of Wageningen University and Research. However, the latter is very difficult to prove and implement. On paper, this is all well organized, but in practice it is much more difficult.
But managing wolves in general isn’t necessarily difficult, according to Jansmann, because it also includes all kinds of preventative measures. So he finds it surprising that there is little enthusiasm on the part of farmers to take these actions.
Jansmann also hopes that the concerns of farmers and citizens such as those in Westerfield will be taken seriously. “From an environmental perspective, it’s all very realistic and we see that the wolf is not very quick to attack humans. But there is a huge difference between being aware of and being aware of a risk. The latter is something else, and the wolf is relatively new and therefore we are concerned about it.”
Jansman also encourages farmers like Roland to take precautionary measures. Where there are large areas of continuous nature in Veluwe with many wild ungulates, in Drenthe they are more fragmented and only deer can be found there. “This simply increases the chance of nuisance,” he concludes.