Alpine wolf which killed Highland calves is a first in NL

A gray wolf. Photo:

The wolf which killed four Highland calves in Brabant is an alpine wolf and probably part of a pack in the French or Italian Alps, provincial nature organisation BIJ12 and wolf monitoring organisation Wolven in Nederland have said in a report.

It is the first time an alpine wolf has roamed into the Netherlands, the organisations say. The discovery was made after DNA testing of material found at the scene of the attack.

Sightings of alpine wolves have been reported earlier in Germany and Belgium. Three of the animals are thought to have settled in Wallonia, the report states. Most itinerant and settled wolves in the Netherlands are from central Europe. The variation is good for the wolves’ gene pool, the researchers said.

The number of sightings of wolves in the Netherlands has grown from one a week a few years ago to 25, the report says. Research by the farm ministry published on Wednesday showed that 57% of the population welcome the return of the wolf to the Netherlands.

The first wolves were spotted again in the Netherlands in 2015 and at least one pair have been breeding in the Veluwe heathland region. Some 65% of people said they did not consider wolves to be dangerous and would not avoid areas where they were known to roam.

Farmers whose livestock is proved to have been killed by wolves can claim compensation.

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