Shepherds in Drenthe have been working overtime since the arrival of the wolf. To protect their flocks, shepherds sometimes work an extra twenty hours a week.
Where the sheep used to be able to sleep freely on the field, they are now placed behind a wolf-resistant grid at night. That takes shepherds about an hour and a half a day.
The maintenance of the grids also appears to be a time-consuming job, says shepherd Julie Teunen. “Then all the animals are behind the fence, but then the electricity, for example, does not work,” says Teunen. “Then you have to go and see if there is a branch somewhere on one of the power wires. It’s a fairly large grid, so that just takes a lot of time.”
Shepherd Marianne Duinkerken also says that her work has become more difficult since the arrival of the wolf. “I have been a shepherd for 21 years now and in all those years I have never experienced such a difficult period. Nowadays I am on the road from early in the morning until late at night,” she says to RTV Drenthe.
Shepherd Julie sometimes works an extra 20 hours a week to keep her sheep safe:
Albert Kerssies, chairman of a partnership between ten Drenthe sheep herds, also receives signals from other shepherds about increased work pressure. A possible solution, he said, would be an allowance from the province. With that money extra hours can be compensated or the shepherd can hire someone to reduce the workload.
In a response to the regional broadcaster, the province says it is aware of the problem, but says it cannot make any extra money available.
However, the shepherds can apply for a subsidy for wolf-resistant grids. Damage caused by wolves is already compensated by the province. Staatsbosbeheer wants to raise the problem again with the province.
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