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Dutch nature reserves are not allowed to catch or kill the wolves that live there

De Hoge Veluwe National Park managers are not permitted to capture or kill the wolf packs that live within the park. The administrator asked the province of Gelderland for permission to do so, saying wolves were killing all the mouflons in the park. The mouflon herd has halved since the wolves settled in the park, officials claimed.

But because wolves are a protected species in Europe, Gelderland does not allow the capture or killing of predators. Park managers will have to find another solution, the state said.

A pair of wolves settled in the park and had cubs. One of her young wolves has been tamed and is approaching humans. The state wants to put the animals to shame again by shooting them with paintballs, but animal rights group Fauna Beshelming disagrees. A court in Utrecht will handle the case later on Wednesday.

Park managers are against wolves in the park. De Hoge Veluwe closed all fences and game paths around the park when wolves first appeared on the Veluwe in 2019 to keep predators out. Their gates are still closed, but the wolves found a way around them. Funabescherming argues that park managers have begun feeding the wolves on purpose to tame them, so it will be a problem that can be addressed according to the local current wolf plans.

Helderland wants to give more opportunities to deal with wolves in question if needed. The state asked Minister Christian van der Val to intervene. “Gelderland is concerned about the rising wolf population given the social unrest,” the state said. “We have to learn to live with wolves again.”

New Wolf plans for all states are due early next year. It could also include more measures to control wolves in the Netherlands.

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