Lutra 61(2)_Van Den Berge_Editorial_2018

Year(s) of the wolf: no doubt about it!

In last December’s editorial of Lutra, La Haye & Verboom (2017) forcefully argued the case for declaring 2017 as the year of the wolf in the Netherlands. After several years when wolves had occasionally been spotted in the country, reliable observations of wild wolves showed a clear increase in 2017. It was considered inevitable that, sooner or later, wolves would disperse into the Netherlands and that it would become an extension of their natural range. In 2000, wolf pups were born in Germany for the first time in about 150 years (following their earlier dispersion from Poland), and a steady westward recolonisation and dispersion have been observed since then. Seventeen years later, La Haye & Verboom (2017) judged it as safe to state that wild wolves have once again became part of the Dutch mammalian fauna.

However, it looks like Flanders, the northern part of federal Belgium, is doing even better. In October 2017, Naya, a she-wolf who was radio-collared with a GPS transmitter by Norman Stier of the Technical University of Dresden travelled all the way from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany to the very north of the Netherlands and then headed due south all the way to the vast military areas in the Flemish province of Limburg, where she arrived on 3 January 2018. After being on transmigration for over 600 km during more than two and a half months, it soon became obvious that....