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Dead wolf with a side order of cucumber

Sunday 14 July 2013

photo Robin Pascoe

It might be the silly season for news, but a dead wolf is a great way of generating headlines, writes Robin Pascoe.

With parliament in recess until the beginning of September, when the nitty gritty of how to slash €6bn from the budget will be worked out, Dutch news organisations are now winding down.

Newspapers stop publishing big fat weekend supplements, magazines produce double issues so they can all have a few weeks off and television correspondents produce weekly columns about some odd happening wherever they happen to be to make up for the lack of news.

Traditionally in the Netherlands, the silly season is known as ‘komkommertijd’ and one of its staples is animal stories. DutchNews.nl is quite happy to join in.


So true to form, this year we’ve had articles about a dead wolf, found on the side of a road near Luttelgeest – a small settlement in the middle of nowhere on the reclaimed land of the Noordoost polder. Exciting stuff.

The wolf was headline news. Experts from the Naturalis centre in Leiden examined the fur and feet live on television and VVD politicians immediately declared all wolves which dare to venture into the Netherlands should be shot on sight.

This, according to news agency ANP, was a cabinet split with the much more friendly Labour party which welcomes the return of the oh-so-fluffy rabbit killer. If the wolf really is back, that is.


But then along come the spoilsports of wildlife group Faunabeheer Flevoland, which declared the dead wolf was dumped there by someone for fun, just to see what the media and the rest would make of it.

Cue a new round of headlines declaring the dead wolf to be a joke and a fake. The reasoning? Well, the wolf’s last meal was beaver and there are not many of those in Flevoland, said a spokesman.

More than that, they had not received any reports of a car hitting a large animal. But if you killed the Netherlands’ first wolf in 150 years, would you report it to the authorities - especially if you only have third-party car insurance?


So who might be responsible for fooling the good people of the Netherlands into thinking wolves have made a return?

The Faunabeheer Flevoland spokesman told Nos television he thinks the wolf was killed in Germany or Poland and brought to the Netherlands deliberately.

How does he know this? We've all watched CSI? So have they tracked down the pollen in its fur or analysed the soil between its claws, or found traces of paint deep in its wounds? Perhaps even carried out a reconstruction of the crash?

No. Mr Faunabeheer Flevoland thinks the wolf is foreign and was 'picked up and dumped' by some of the ‘many’ Polish people who live and work around Luttelgeest.

Ah, that explains it. Those pesky Poles are at it again. Not content with stealing our jobs and single-handedly lowering wage levels, they are also taking over the summer news season’s fascination with animal stories as well.

© DutchNews.nl

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