The remains of a wolf-like animal hit and killed by a car near the Flevoland village of Luttelgeest last week was 98% certain an actual wolf, according to experts at biodiversity centre Naturalis in Leiden.
Biologist Jaap Mulder and mammal collection chief Steven van der Mije said judging by the teeth, fur and feet, the animal appears to be a female wolf aged two to three years old.
‘Dogs are quite different,’ Van der Mije said during the examination of the find on Monday.
DNA testing will determine finally if the animal is a wolf. If proved conclusively, it is the first time in 150 years that a wolf has surfaced in the Netherlands. DNA testing is being carried out in both Leiden and by a German institute.
The animal did not have a micro-chip implant, meaning it is unlikely to have escaped from captivity.
‘We know of one breeder in the Netherlands who is producing dogs which look as much like wolves as possible but they are very expensive animals and would be chipped,’ Van der Mije is quoted as saying by news agency ANP. ‘No breeder, zoo or wildlife park in our part of Europe has reported a missing wolf either.’
The Dutch wolf is likely to have come from a German pack and may have been on the hunt for a location to start a new pack, the researchers said.
The distance from the border to the Noordoostpolder – about 80 km – can easily be covered by a wolf at night, the researchers are quoted as saying.
In April, natural heritage organisation Natuurmonument said it would not be long before wolves were again roaming the Dutch countryside.
That month, a lone wolf was photographed near the German town of Meppen, which is just 15 kilometres from the Dutch border and 110 kilometres from Luttelgeest.
In August 2011, a wolf was reported in Gelderland near Duiven and in September another was seen in the Veluwe national park. But in both cases there was no photo as evidence. The last confirmed sighting of a wolf in the Netherlands was in 1869.
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