Sheep farmers in the Netherlands have been reporting a notable increase in the number of their sheep that’s died from attacks by wolves, and some are pointing their fingers at the government’s wolf protection policy. As a result, they’ve been asking for preventive measures as well as money to put up an electric fence for dogs and wolves in the farms.
According to reports, 2018 saw farming claiming compensation for 134 sheep, with evidence backing up their claims regarding wolf attacks. For reference, 2017 only saw 21 such compensations throughout its entirety.
Wolves are a protected species in the Netherlands, meaning that farmers are not allowed to either kill or chase them. The farmers, however, have reported that compensation for the sheep killed by wolves; their livelihoods, is insufficient, and that they want government subsidies to fund preventive measures, like an electric fence for dogs and wolves for their farms.
Wolven, a wolf monitoring site in the country, says that two wolves are presently roaming the middle of the country, as evidence by their tracks and the trail of dead sheep in their wake, in Gelderland, Overijssel, Drenth, as well as a small part of Friesland. They add that the wolves are merely adolescents, who have yet to master killing their preferred prey; deer. The organisation says that, when the wolves establish themselves, they will no longer attack sheep.
The first wolf was sighted in the Netherlands back in 2015, after being gone for more than a century, and six have been reported to roam the country.
Of course, the farmers are worried about their sheep, especially following one instance of a farmer in Overijssel finding 26 of his prized sheep dead across his farm, earlier in June. The farmer, Herman Jansma, says that, as long as the government is backing the wolf protection policy, they should take responsibility for any effects it may have. Hansma says that he’d need tens of thousands of euros to keep the wolves in check, and he confesses that he simply doesn’t have that money.
An update will be added sometime in the autumn to the Wolf Protocol from 2013, which protects the wolves and outlines which measures are prohibited regarding the animals. A spokesperson from the Over ijssel provincial authorities said that preventative measures will be part of the update, but no details have been divulged as of yet.