Wolf spotted between Amsterdam, Utrecht; Support for animal waning

A wolf was spotted in the Gooi, an urban area between Amsterdam and Utrecht, over the past few days. As more wolves appear in the Netherlands, the number of opponents is also growing, ANP reported based on a survey in collaboration with Kieskompas.

The wolf spotted near Huizen and Laren in the Gooi is attracting a lot of attention. According to the nature manager Goois Nature Reserve, many photographers showed up on Friday in the morning twilight in the hope of being able to take pictures of the predator. The nature manager will take extra care to avoid the nature reserves around Huizen and on the Westehreide near Laren getting too crowded, a spokesperson said. Goois Nature Reserve doesn’t expect the wolf to settle permanently in the area.

Goois Nature Reserve called it remarkable that a wolf has turned up in the Gooi. “It is an urban area. The nature reserves are quite small and are very busy. There are always many hikers. In most places, it is too busy for the wolf,” said the spokesperson.

The wolf reporting point Wolvenmeldpunt has confirmed that the animal spotted in the Gooi is indeed a wolf based on pictures. It is probably a roaming wolf looking for its own habitat. More young wolves are seeking their own space this time of year. It is not yet known whether this wolf has been in the Netherlands before because no material has yet been found for a DNA test. “We are busy looking for excrement,” said the nature area.

The shepherds of Goois Nature Reserve make sure that the two flocks of sheep are safe in the sheepfold at night. They can also install a temporary wolf-resistant fence with power wires if it proves necessary.

In April last year, a wolf was spotted walking in the vicinity of Goois Nature Reserve near Lage Vuursche. This wolf left quite quickly and was later hit by a car.

Support for wolf waning

The number of people who oppose the wolf in the Netherlands is on the rise, according to ANP and Kieskompas. Those who think the wolf doesn’t belong in the country grew from a quarter to a third in the past 18 months. While the proportion who think the wolf does belong fell from 46 to 41 percent. The “neutral” respondents decreased from about 30 percent to a quarter.

The wolf has currently settled in the Netherlands on the Veluwe in Gelderland and in parts of Drenthe. Wolves also regularly roam alone, especially on the east side of the country. The fact that they sometimes attack sheep or approach people has made them a topic of debate.

Wolf advocates want the government to push money into protecting sheep. Opponents want the government to make it easier to fight the wolf by chasing it away or shooting it. The province of Gelderland, for example, wants to use a paintball gun to frighten off wolves. But the court stopped that plan because the animal is protected at the European level and can’t be disturbed just like that.

Drenthe is the only province where a majority of residents are explicitly against the wolf: over 54 percent. In all other provinces, the opponents are in the minority. In Friesland, 43 percent of people think the wolf should go. In Gelderland, it’s about 39 percent, and in Overjissel, about 31 percent. At 26 percent, the fewest opponents live in Utrecht. In 2021, the percentage of people against the wolf did not exceed 40 percent in any province.

Reporting by ANP and NL Times

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