Friday 15 January 2021

Frisian farmers campaign for border fence to keep out wolves


Five sheep farmers from Friesland are calling on the provincial council to build a 150 kilometre fence along the provincial border from the IJsselmeer to the Lauwersmeer to keep out wolves.

The five have formed a foundation – Wolvenhek Fryslân – to campaign for the fence, which, they say, should run along the border with Groningen and Drenthe. The estimated cost is some €2m and the plan is ‘deadly serious’, the farmers say.

Wolves are now breeding in the Netherlands and have occasionally been spotted in Friesland. Last year, a wolf killed several dozen sheep in the three northern provinces.

Farmers whose livestock are killed by wolves can claim compensation from the government. However, the Frisian group say the compensation does not make up for the loss and the extra time needed to make a claim.

The provincial government’s farming chief Klaas Fokkinga told local broadcaster Omrop Fryslân that the plan is a non-starter. It would be impossible to place a fence around the province, partly because it would have to cross land in private ownership, he said.

A foundation set up to help farmers make their farms wolf-proof also dismissed the plan. ‘It would have to be a very strong fence, combined with an electric shock,’ a spokesman told RTV Noord. ‘If it is not electrified, the wolf will either jump over it or dig under it.’

Last summer the province did narrowly pass a motion calling for measures to be taken to keep Friesland wolf free.

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