Despite a cry for help from the provinces of Friesland, Drenthe and Overijssel, Minister Christianne van der Wal does not want to change her wolf policy.
A few weeks ago, the three provinces asked the minister whether it is possible to keep the wolf out of areas where the animal can cause damage to livestock. In Friesland, Drenthe and Overijssel there are hardly any extensive forest areas in which the wolf can hide and too few animals for them to hunt, according to the provincial administrators.
The minister now states that she understands the concerns about the wolf. But she first wants to talk to all parties so that they gain a better understanding of each other’s points of view. Van der Wal is also awaiting advice from the Council for Animal Affairs and is discussing the wolf in a European context. But for now nothing will change in the approach to the wolf, according to the minister.
A step forward
The Frisian deputy Klaas Fokkinga reacts disappointed. At the same time, he considers it positive that the minister has indicated (again) that she is willing to work on an international European policy plan on the wolf. A policy that therefore applies not only to the Netherlands, but to the whole of Western Europe. Fokkinga: “She has already contacted Germany. I think that is a step forward,” said Fokkinga at Omrop Fryslân.
Earlier, his Drenthe colleague also pushed for an international wolf policy. Not only at the level of governments, but also in the European Parliament. “The Netherlands has not really stirred in the European Parliament so far,” said Drenthe deputy Henk Jumelet at RTV Drenthe. “Meanwhile, the wolf is causing unrest and sorrow in our country.”
At the moment, governments cannot just decide to intervene by moving or shooting wolves. For the time being, the protocol is being used that there must be a ‘favourable conservation status’ in Europe. This means that there must be at least 1000 wolf packs across Europe before action is taken. Now there are 300 packs.
Urine odor trail
Provinces themselves can do little. The province of Drenthe has expanded the subsidy scheme for wolf-resistant grids. Where previously only goat and sheep farmers could apply for a subsidy, this now also applies to owners of cattle, pigs, horses, ponies, donkeys and alpacas. Drenthe has also started four trials, including one with wolf urine. It is being investigated whether wolves do not venture somewhere if there is a scent trail of urine there.
Friesland also subsidizes grids and fences. Although little use is made of this for the time being, according to deputy Fokkinga, because maintenance is a lot of work. The fences are also not always effective. Fokkinga: “But it’s the only thing we can do at the moment. We can’t chase the wolf away.”
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