Hans Nijenhuis, 76, has driven several times from his hometown of Arnhem to De Hoge Veluwe in recent weeks to photograph a wolf. “You’ve been off the street for a while, that’s how you see it,” he smiles. It has not had any success so far. Today he took his wife with him. “Then I might have better luck.” He knows that the National Park Department would rather get rid of the wolf than get rich, because it preys on other inhabitants such as the mouflon, the wild sheep that keeps the landscape open by grazing.
Nijenhuis does not understand the aversion. “You have a natural garden and then nature comes and then suddenly says: Yes, but there are sheep here. While the wolf belongs to this area and those algae do not belong.” Nijenhuis worked as a volunteer in the national park and believed the wolf should not be stopped. “No one has ever asked me where the algae are. Everyone always asks about deer and latrines. Ask the manager to remove the fences here. And then all the animals can walk from Germany to Utrecht.”
The controversy over the wolf has flared up again, as the highly protected European animal does not regularly bite sheep to death, as it has in recent years, but in recent times it occasionally attacks and partially eats calves, cows and horses – until Wallybee’s death is under scrutiny. “Fear is good,” says dairy farmer Dirk Bruins of Dwingelo, Drenthe. He is the president of the agricultural and horticultural organization LTO Noord. In response to the enthusiasm of the wolf among some nature lovers, a “safari” with farmers who are victims of the wolf will soon be held. “During the safari, participants reach out to farmers who wonder every night if their animals are the next victim. A vet is on hand to explain what the animals go through if they are caught,” announced a press release.
Bruins: “In the Netherlands, the focus is now on protecting the wolf. But this protection comes at the expense of other animals. It is often said that owners should protect their livestock better. This is a slap in the face for farmers who want nothing more. Protection is often impossible …the only way is to keep all animals in the stable at all times. If sheep keepers fenced their land outside, it would be expensive and have to be done at such a great distance that other animals could not get in or out, like deer, badgers, hares and foxes. This smolders?”
Since the wolf finally settled in the Netherlands a few years ago and there are probably a few dozen now, the discussion has focused on the question of whether the Netherlands should do everything necessary to protect this species of native fauna, as required by European legislation. Should farmers and citizens adapt to wolf behavior, or should the animal’s progress be limited?
Not only did the farmers defend the latter, but also manager Sieger van Fürst Toot Forest of De Hoge Veluwe. He says: There is an ongoing massacre. We are witnessing a complete breakdown of the park’s biodiversity. Until recently, we had three hundred flying animals and two hundred roe deer – given this situation there was no need to shoot them. All these animals were eaten. The wolf must go.”
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According to the park manager, the mouflon herd is essential to protect the Hoge Veluwe from rampant Scots pine. “Ordinary sheep do not eat Scots pine. And I do not have enough volunteers to clear all the Scots pines.” In fact, there is now an exhibit in the park where visitors see for themselves how impressive and dangerous wolves are, says the post. The mouflon is an “iconic species,” according to the park, that should be preserved at all costs. Van Voorst tot Voorst is enraged by the “green terror” of environmentalists who will tell you from behind the office in the city how the owners should manage their landscape. “While we are not responsible for selling enough tickets without subsidies, it is we as site managers,” he says, “and providing jobs.” He continues, “The Netherlands, with a population of 17 million, is too small for a wolf.” But the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Quality Food is in a wolf’s lap. Policy is based on reports from biased scholars. Then there are armed groups capable of anything. We are attacked and threatened from all sides.”
Van Forrest Toot Forest has been warning about the wolf for years, as in an article for the Hunters Association where he tells of wolves in Italy who wait with a pregnant cow to give birth, then immediately eat their young. The manager has closed some park entrances to electronic products to keep the wolf out. that do not work. “Holes were cut in the fence. This is no accident. First a mention came up. Moments later whore. The goal of the Green Lobby has been accomplished.”
A riot has erupted over the situation at De Hoge Veluwe since a young and unashamed wolf sniffed at an army of paparazzi, also curiously approached unsuspecting visitors with children. “It’s a wolf that exhibits abnormal behavior,” says Van Forrest Toot Forest. He’s asked multiple times to be allowed to shoot wolves, but Gelderland County doesn’t want that. However, the county has now granted an exemption from the Nature Conservation Act to hunt down a tamed wolf with a paintball gun. County law enforcement is supposed to be out next week to shoot the wolf in pink paint, preferably in the buttocks where the shot will do the least damage. “This is animal friendly and the wolf can also be easily identified afterwards,” a company spokesperson explains. It is certainly necessary, the exemption states, because if a wolf approaches people multiple times, there is a risk of “aggressive behavior that results in injury to humans.”
The question is how the wolf can become so tamed. The animal organization De Faunabescherming accuses the zoo’s management of having failed in its duty. There are theories that the wolf was intentionally fed and as a result became tamed, so that De Hoge Veluwe was able to prove that the wolf is so dangerous that shooting is the best option. Complete nonsense, says director Van Forrest Toot Forrest. “If I see someone feeding a wolf, I will immediately hand him over to the police.” Some of the dozens of photographers who hope to see a wolf daily have a different theory: that the wolf was attracted to the supplemental feeding of red deer by park managers during the cracking season, and as a result it lost its natural shyness.
Ecologist Hugh Jansmann of Wageningen Environmental Research thinks the same. “There can be no human activity with the wolf.” In such a situation, it is important to quickly induce “aversive conditioning,” Jansmann, among others, wrote in a study by Wageningen University last year: “The wolf must go through a very unpleasant experience every time he visits people, and he clearly relates to people. The longer an animal interacts positively with humans, the more difficult it will be to reverse this behavior.”A bear that feeds is a dead bear‘It is a saying that arose here: It is very difficult to adapt a food-adapted bear so distastefully to people and their environment, so often there is no other choice but to kill the bear. Jansmann is not in favor of direct fire; this would be further evidence that modern man no longer knows what wild nature is and how to deal with it responsibly. Just like wild horses along the River Waal in Nijmegen or the Scottish Highlands, they are sometimes considered ‘disturbing’ because they interact with People who, for example, want to put a baby on it. The walrus Freya was killed in Norway when people thought she had become too groggy.” While the animal couldn’t help being considered a pet. We are far from nature.”
“What are we moaning?”
Meanwhile, nature lovers in Hoge Veluwe are excited about the chance to encounter a coyote, and frankly wonder if a further visit in this way could also model the park’s revenue. The fact that there is now a tamed wolf on the Hoge Veluwe does not surprise visitor Hans Nijenhuis and his wife from Arnhem. “This applies to many animals here. Many pigs and deer are also tamed. It is like a zoo.” The wolf’s eating of other animals is also not surprising. “This is nature. The wolf does nothing worse than man himself. What do people not do to each other? How many animals do we kill to eat? Then what do we complain about the wolf?”
If farmers and site managers really believe that wolf behavior is so bad, then Nijenhuis and his wife have a solution. Buy some big dogs and run on them with the flocks of sheep. Then there is no wolf approaching. Or is this too much trouble? “