A wolf has entered the Hoge Veluwe national park and killed a number of mouflon sheep, despite a fence meant to keep it out.
Dozens of holes have been found in recent months along the 40 kilometre perimeter fence, park ranger Jacob Leidekker told broadcaster NOS. These, he said, were presumably made by people who wanted to enter the park for free or in a deliberate effort to introduce wolves, which have settled elsewhere on the Veluwe region.
The park is privately owned and director and landowner Seger Emmanuel van Voorst to Voorst vehemently opposed the possible arrival of the wolves in 2019.
He said at the time the theory that wolves which have initially attacked sheep will go on to live off wildlife is ‘total nonsense’.
‘Once a wolf has tasted mutton it won’t be running after a deer. Sheep will no longer be able to graze if wolves are in the area and they won’t be deterred by fences. (…) We live in a country of 17 million people, not the Serengeti.’
Wolven in Nederland spokesman Roeland Vermeulen told DutchNews.nl at the time that wolves when settled usually focus on deer and wild boar, but there is ‘certainly a risk’ to the mouflon population.
‘The mouflon is not an indigenous animal. It was introduced to be hunted and is designed to flee to the mountains when in danger and of course that is not possible here.’
The mouflon sheep are now being brought to safety while park managers are trying fend off efforts to officially introduce the wolf in the 5,000 hectare park. ‘It is well-known that where the wolf appears, the mouflon sheep disappear. We would rather be rid of them,’ Leidekker said.
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