From Cryptozoology News:
After some sheep were killed near the Belgian town of Gedinne in July, a TV camera crew set up an camera trap to see if, as suspected, a lynx had killed the sheep. Much to their, and everyone else’s, surprise, what they caught on camera was not a lynx, but appeared to be a wolf….
The last known Belgian wolf was seen in 1898, though there was a recent sighting in the Veluwe National Park in Holland of a lone wolf. This could potentially be the same wolf, or one from the same family. Either way, on the assumption that this wolf/wolves originated in Germany, they would have to have crossed several large motorways and rivers.
Germany’s population of wolves is actually quite small, and its core is located in the former East Germany, in the historic region of Lusatia, which is along the Polish border. However, wolves have been sighted as far west as Lower Saxony, which borders on the Netherlands. A German hunter got in big trouble after shooting a wolf in that state last year.
When wolves disperse from their natal packs they have been known to travel hundreds of miles before they find territory suitable to found their own packs. This part of Europe is quite densely populated, so I think this wolf shows that when left unpersecuted, wolves will readily live near people– and take advantage of what food and habitat resources we have to offer.
The fact that this wolf has likely been killing sheep probably won’t win it too many plaudits in the Belgian countryside.
But in Western Europe, which is essentially large carnivore deprived, this wolf is likely to become a celebrity of sorts. Only 2.64 percent of Belgians live in rural areas, which means that the bulk of Belgian society is quite removed from the natural world. My guess is that the majority of Belgians, like the majority of urban dwellers in North America, are generally supportive of efforts to protect large carnivores. And I wouldn’t be surprised if even the majority of Belgians living in rural areas were supportive of wolves. We see a very similar dynamic in the Eastern United States. The majority of urban dwellers support wolf reintroduction and recovery, and even those who live in rural Eastern North Carolina support the return of the so-called red wolf. In the West, the majority of people oppose wolf reintroduction, and now that wolves are becoming established there, they want to be able to manage wolf populations.
But Belgium now has a native large carnivore.
I think the Belgians should be proud of this new natural treasure.