Česká verze

Wolf monitoring in the Netherlands

3.1.2018, Carnivores.cz

My first experience with wolf-monitoring (Slovakia, 2015)

Wolf monitoring in the Beskydy MountainsIn February 2015, I spent a week in the Western Carpathians in Slovakia to cooperate for 8 days in wolf monitoring. I joined a group of volunteers who searched the mountains for signs of wolves and lynx (signs such as scats, hairs, and tracks). On the first day, we walked through extremely beautiful Narnia-like snowy landscapes, found lots of wolf and lynx tracks, and walked up to 17 kilometres in knee-deep snow. It was very impressive and mind-blowing. The other days we walked on average 10 or 12 kilometres.

A trip to Lausitz (Germany, 2016)

Wolf scat found in LausitzSince my valuable experience in Slovakia, I wanted to continue wolf-tracking, especially since I'm highly fascinated by these animals since the 1980s when I was a little boy. In December 2016, I've self-organized a trip to the Lausitz area with my good friend and my brother. We asked permission from a landowner we met in a pub, and build our camp in his forest/hunting ground for 4 nights. At night, we made a little fire because the temperature was around 1°C below zero. In the morning, we woke up in snowy fields; we made coffee, fried eggs, and bacon. During days we hiked a lot, found lots of wolf tracks, talked to locals in the pub, met foresters, and had conversations with landowners and people who bred sheep in this area. All talks were about wolves and we heard lots of different opinions, positive and negative.

"It must have been a wolf" (the Netherlands, 2017)

In August 2017, our local news channel RTV-Noord wrote about a dead sheep, a "possible" wolf kill, near the German border, roughly 60 kilometres from my house. The next morning, I got my bike and with a friend, we cycled 40 kilometres in the area, along the Dutch coastline, checking almost every square meter to look for tracks and more signs of wolves. I still can't believe it; that morning we found another dead sheep which seemed to be killed by a wolf. Directly we contacted the organization Wolven in Nederland (Wolves in the Netherlands). They organized the DNA-sampling, which had been analysed at the Wageningen University (Alterra) and the Senckenberg Institute in Germany. Four weeks later, I got a phone call I'd never forget: "Edo, it must have been a wolf." After making contacts with people from Wolven in Nederland, I joined as a volunteer.


More wolves in the Netherlands

Since the growth of the wolf population in Germany, more and more wolves disperse west, to finally enter the Netherlands. In March 2015, a young wolf wandered around in the northern part of the Netherlands and vanished after 5 days. Unfortunately, this wolf got killed months later at the autobahn in Germany. It was given the name "Wanderwolf".

In September 2016, an animal resembling wolf was spotted close to Beuningen, near the German border. DNA analysis of scat confirmed it really was a wolf.

On 3 March 2017, a one-and-a-half-year-old male wolf was killed on the A28 highway, near Veeningen in the province Drenthe.

After this sad news, another wolf was spotted in October 2017 in the Veluwe, a forest area in the centre of the Netherlands. After a few days of some interesting sightings and lots of media attention, this wolf seemed to have disappeared... had it left our country? Or had it died?

Not a month later, 13 November 2017, a two-year-old male wolf was hit by a taxi and died. This happened on the N343 in Kloosterhaar, close to the German border. DNA analysis showed this wolf could be connected to a wolf pair in Babben (Brandenburg, Germany), more than 600 kilometres away. So far, it's not clear if this was the same wolf as the one seen in the Veluwe area.

Wolf killed by car in the NetherlandsTwo-year-old male wolf, Kloosterhaar


The activities of Wolven in Nederland

Wolven in Nederland is a platform, where several organizations cooperate to prepare a careful return of wolves to the Netherlands. This is done by spreading information about wolves, by separating facts from tales. Wolven in Nederland consists of volunteers, scientists, NGOs and even the largest Dutch hunting organization.

There's a Facebook page and the website www.wolveninnederland.nl, to inform people and to offer the possibility to report wolf sightings. All wolf sightings are checked by a group of experienced people, and all data about a wolf sighting is logged.

Every now and then, possible wolf sightings are reported in the eastern part of the Netherlands. In near future, a lot of new such sightings are expected, since the wolf population in Germany is rapidly growing.



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