Nature minister Christianne van der Wal is calling for a ‘broad public debate’ about the return of the wolf to the Netherlands following a number of attacks on lifestock and reports of seemingly tame animals.
The debate is meant to stop the discussion about the presence of the wolf from becoming polarised, Van der Wal told MPs and will involve all sides in determining the place of the wolf in the Dutch landscape.
‘Social media are feeding fear and sensationalism and that is not what a considered discussion is about,’ broadcaster NOS quoted the minister as saying.
‘It is a knotty problem with many dilemmas and diametrically opposing interests. But at the same time the wolf is helping biodiversity. It is native tot he Netherlands and has found its way back here by itself. And it is a protected species,’ Van der Wal said.
However, recent sightings of a seemingly tame wolf which does not seem to fear people could warrant shooting or chasing them away, according to some critics. ‘It is a question of time before a wolf attacks a child. Little Red Riding Hood will no longer be just a fairy tale,’ Caroline van der Plas, leader of farmers party BBB, has claimed.
In Gelderland local authorities recently decided it would scare the animals away by using paintballing guns.
The Netherlands is now home to four packs of wolves, with 16 cubs born this year, monitoring organisation BIJ12 has said.
The north of the country, where at least three cubs were born, now has its first pack, the organisation reported. Thirteen more cubs were born across the Veluwe healthland region, including the Veluwe park nature reserve.
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