12 wolf attacks against sheep and other farm animals were reported in the northern Netherlands in March, with Friesland being affected the most. In total, 37 sheep fell victim to those attacks, according to BIJ12, an organization which monitors damage done by wild animals. The DNA analysis carried out by the group confirmed wolves were the culprit, the Dagblad van het Noorden reports.
In the province of Friesland, 26 sheep were bitten to death, up from 13 in February and 7 in January. For those livestock that weren’t killed by the wolves in the attacks, they were frequently left with large wounds requiring veterinary help or euthanasia. 8 sheep fell prey to the carnivores in Drenthe and three in Groningen.
Most of the killings were reported on the Frisian side of the Drents-Friese Wold National Park, where a wolf pair is known to live. In Drenthe, wolves picked off sheep in Ruinen and Ruinerwold. Both attacks registered in Groningen occurred in De Wilp.
BIJ12 warns the number of April attacks is likely to be even higher. The organization said it was investigating the killing of a calf in Doldersum, and attacks on dozens of sheep in Boijl, Beilen, Hijken, Eursinge, Hollandscheveld, and 2eExloërmond.
Last year, a group of Frisian sheep farmers asked for a boundary between Friesland and the neighboring provinces of Groningen and Drenthe to prevent wolves from accessing Frisian farmland. The construction of the fence began in the summer, however experts and animal protection groups voiced concerns over the initiative.
Wolves were first sighted in the Netherlands in 2015 after many years of absence. However, not everyone is happy the predators have returned to the country. Although wolves are a protected species in Europe, about a third of Dutch residents believe the wolf does not belong in the densely populated Netherlands. We would welcome your opinion on this contentious issue: please vote to let us know what you think in the poll above.