Statement | Letting the wolf run its course is unsustainable

We receive calls almost daily with the question: are you going to hunt wolves soon? The Hunters’ Association answers this question with: it depends on whether we receive the order from the government. In many cases, hunters implement national or provincial fauna policy to contribute to the restoration of the balance in nature and do not take the initiative to hunt animals themselves.

The wolves do not know that they are used daily by supporters and opponents of their species in all kinds of heated discussions. Random studies and figures from Poland, France, Canada and Scandinavia are used to prove the wolf’s danger or to present the animal as the savior of all fauna problems. An unwanted polarization. Minister Van der Wal (Nature, VVD) has therefore rightly proposed a broad social dialogue.

The well-being game that is now played around the wolf reveals a painful point in our society: a huge gap in the experience of nature between people who live in the city and in the countryside. The wolf and many other animals are great until they plow your backyard, kill your crops, or attack your animals. A little understanding of each other’s views would help. In the end, nothing is black or white and often much more extensive than it appears at first glance.

Also read: Poldering about the wolf: should humans adapt to the advance of the animal or not?

Holland one big park

Wolves eat deer, roe deer, wild boar. Perhaps hunters no longer need to hunt these animals? Will everything be okay? It may be helpful to first consider why hunters are also asked to hunt these wolf prey. This is because – often due to overpopulation – injuries occur. Deciduous trees are essential for healthy forests, but in areas with a lot of deer and game, they don’t get a chance to grow taller than eight centimeters. Or as a result of (food) competition, animals cross dangerous roads with a high risk of collisions with wildlife, then rummage through gardens or cemeteries in search of food. Keep in mind that Holland is actually one big park with almost 18 million people, not extensive nature like for example in parts of Eastern Europe.

Can the province put its list of management measures entirely in the hands of the wolf? Perhaps in part it relieves the hunters in that area. But completely? None. The wolf is an opportunist, looking for easy prey and does not think about forestry, biodiversity and biotope improvement. A wolf also does not distinguish between backyards, cemeteries, soccer fields or nature parks, such as the Hoge Veluwe.

If I were a wolf and someone cut a hole in a fence for me, I would know. Delicious! People walk alone on the trails, parks are closed at night, prey is plentiful, and there is no heavy traffic. A kind of Beekse Bergen. A predictable world where you don’t have to be afraid of anything. Not even for humans. The young wolves born in the Hoge Veluwe don’t know any better, I imagine.

Also read this statement: Kroondomein must be an example for Veluwe, not the other way around

Shooting types

Many hunters recognize the gap in the perception of nature in the Netherlands. In rural areas, hunters are part of a chain of nature management and conservation organisations. Here, these volunteer professionals are appreciated for their biotope improvement measures, population monitoring, cooperation with green boas, assistance in wildlife clashes and many other things. While people who are hardly familiar with wildlife management think that hunters shoot everything that moves with their rifles all year round.

This last group must disappoint the Hunters’ Association. The hunt takes place with politics. Gun-hungry types are better off at the shooting range. And the still-protected wolf, that will remain a subject of discussion for a while. Perhaps it is time for the Hunters’ Association to make a pact with the wolf: an anti-polarization pact to put an end to the emotional discussions.

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