Up to six times the number of wolf packs expected in the Netherlands

Coyote on Veluwe

Noos News

  • Francian Yantima

    Local editor

  • Francian Yantima

    Local editor

The wolf habitat in the Netherlands is expanding, and the number of wolf packs is expected to increase by two and a half to six times in the future compared to the current nine known wolf populations. It appears from research of Wageningen University and Research, commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Researchers say the north and east of the Netherlands appear particularly attractive to wolves; They expect about 23 to 56 Dutch wolf packs in the future.

According to the researchers, if the animal were not so selective regarding the landscape, it could settle permanently in almost the entire northeastern Netherlands, in Flevoland, in the Utrechtsee Heuvelrug and in large parts of North Brabant.

If the wolf is more critical of its environment, its habitat remains more limited. Researchers expect the predator to then spread to the Veluwe region, southeastern Flevoland, Drents-Fries-Wold, and parts of North Brabant.

The map below shows the areas suitable for the presence of wolves, according to research:

Possible distribution area of ​​the wolf in the Netherlands

The nine wolf packs in the Netherlands currently live in Veluwe (seven), central Drenthe and in the border area of ​​Friesland, Drenthe and Overijssel. According to researchers, the pack includes an average of five to nine wolves. In 2015, a wolf was spotted in the Netherlands for the first time and in 2018, the first wolf settled permanently in the Veluwe area.

It is unclear when the Netherlands will host 23 to 56 packages. “This is really a waste of money,” says ecologist Dennis Lamertsma of Wageningen University and Research, who co-authored the study. “It depends on all kinds of factors. How many young people do they have? Do they end up on the highway, do they move to Belgium?”


In their research, the scientists used information about the types of landscapes that wolves with transmitters in Germany live in, such as forests and moors. They put that information into a model, along with information about the Netherlands’ landscape, population density and, for example, how well people have adapted to the landscape.

It is impossible to predict where wolves will settle. According to the researchers, the wolf is “a plastic species, an opportunist that adapts to new conditions.” Wolves need wooded areas where they can find nesting sites. On the other hand, young wolves searching for a home can appear anywhere, including cities. .

Human influence

Scientists say the group is unlikely to settle permanently in the west of the country, because human influence there is relatively large. They also state that settlement in the so-called open cultural landscape, such as Flevopolders, Friesland and Zealand, is less likely. It cannot be completely ruled out.

“This map in particular shows that we can also expect wolf packs outside nature reserves such as Veluwe, Drents-Friesfold and Utrechtsee Heuvelrug,” says Glenn Lelyveld, coordinator of the Mammal Society’s Wolf Reporting Center. “These results are largely consistent with my 2014 study, which predicted about 59 packs.”

Lelieveld believes the research is particularly important for policy makers. “How will they help people living in areas where wolves are coming to live with their new big-toothed neighbor? Contact between people and wolves should be kept to a minimum, for everyone’s benefit.”

Attacks on livestock

A spokesman for outgoing Minister Van der Waals said it was up to the provinces to deal with the growing number of wolves.

The European Commission is investigating whether it is possible to amend the wolf’s protected status, and Van der Waals is likely to inform the House of Representatives next week what position she wants to take in Europe. Wageningen’s research is an input into the process of determining the status of wolves in the Netherlands; The so-called state of preservation.

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