For the first time in 140 years, wolves are populating in the Netherlands after being hunted out of the region.
Wolves were hunted out of many European countries over a century ago but have gradually been migrating back across the continental mainland. Occasional wolf sightings have been made in the Netherlands since 2015. But these animals were previously thought to be animals that had crossed over temporarily from Germany and would subsequently return there.
Ecologists from campaign groups FreeNature and Wolven in Nederland have been tracking two females in the Hoge Veluwe nature reserve, collecting wolf prints and scat (droppings) from which they can identify DNA. The reserve has now been designated as a wolf habitat.
On April 9, 2019, they told BBC Radio 4’s Costing the Earth that their data now confirmed one of the females had stayed continuously for six months and can now be considered “established”. There was also evidence that a male wolf had been moving in and out of the area, and scientists told that the wolves could form a pack within months.
Ecologist Hugh Jansman of Wageningen University, who was commissioned to investigate wolves in the area said their return would benefit the local ecosystem.
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