Four wolves in Netherlands, including third one in Veluwe

Published on
February 28, 2019

There were four wolves in the Netherlands in the past quarter, including two new individuals: a female and a male. Three of the four live in the Veluwe. This is evident from the periodical monitoring research of Wageningen Environmental Research on assignment from BIJ12. The wolves were detected in the period from November 2018 up to and including January 2019. The wandering female that was in Overijssel last quarter has since returned to Germany.

Settlement in the north of the Veluwe

Female wolf GW998f is the first one confirmed to have settled. This was determined by the analysis of DNA samples, particularly of droppings collected by the Wolvenmeldpunt and Wolven in Nederland. Female wolf GW998f originates from a pack near Babben (Brandenburg), about 600 km from the Dutch border. She was first detected in the north of the Veluwe at the end of July. In the past quarter, six of her wolf droppings were collected, but the final determination came after a blood spot in the snow on a walking track. Likely ovulation blood. Ecologist Hugh Jansman of Wageningen Environmental Research: “Since this female has been in the same region for six months, this means that she is the first established wolf in the Netherlands. A come-back following about 150 years of absence.”

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Female wolf on the mid-Veluwe nearly settled

Six other droppings that were collected in the past quarter appear to be from female wolf GW960f. She was first spotted in the middle of the Veluwe in August 2018. If she is still there after 27 February, then she will also be considered officially settled. Although there are wolves on the Veluwe, there have been no reports of sheep that were bitten in this area. There was a report of a half-eaten red deer calf weighing about 60 kg in forestry Uchgelen-Hoenderloo. “This is unique, as there is usually not a lot wild prey left behind”, says Jansman. He performed an autopsy on the calf and took DNA samples. “Analysis confirmed the suspicions that the animal was killed by female wolf GW960f. Although we generally get the idea from hairs in the wolf droppings that the wolves on the Veluwe eat mainly ungulates, this is the first time that we have found leftover prey.”

Possible pair

Besides the two females there is now also a male on the Veluwe: wolf GW893m. A known individual, spotted a number of times in the period January-September 2018 in the German Eschede/Rheinmetall pack in Lower Saxony, about 400 km away from the Veluwe. He first appeared on the radar in this country on 6 January, through samples of bite wounds on sheep in Heino and a few days later in Dalmsholte (Overijssel). In the following weeks, droppings from this wolf were found in the north of the Veluwe, in the same habitat as female wolf GW998f. “There is a chance that they have met”, says Jansman. Research has yet to discover whether they will form a pair. If this is the case, there is a chance that the wolf pups will be born at the start of May.

Wandering female wolf in Overijssel

On 2 December, a report of a sheep being bitten near De Lutte in Overijssel was submitted. Geneticist Arjen de Groot of Wageningen Environmental Research: “By comparing the recovered DNA profile with the database of our German colleagues at Senckenberg, we know that these sheep were killed by female wolf GW912f. The previous detection of this wolf (December 2017) was in her territory in Walle, Lower Saxony, about 200 km from De Lutte.” The results of research of samples of bitten sheep in the Netherlands is recorded on the BIJ12 website.