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Farmers worry about dingoes and wolves

Sheep farmers in different parts of the world are worried about new species entering the country or reintroduction of certain species in rural areas.

In the Netherlands for example, sheep farmers are dealing with the re-introduction of the wolf. The animal was first spotted in the Netherlands in 2015, after being absent for over 150 years. Since then, wolves have been spotted in different parts of the Netherlands and seem to roam the area for food. Because wolves tend not to settle (yet) in the Netherlands, they hunt for easy targets like sheep (instead of other animals like deer, rabbits and wild boar). There have been several incidences where many sheep were killed or harmed by 1 wolf.

In Germany, Poland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Spain and Sweden, the number of wolves are increasing. From these countries, the animals tend to spread all over Europe.
In Germany, Poland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Spain and Sweden, the number of wolves are increasing. From these countries, the animals tend to spread all over Europe.

Increased number all over Europe

Researchers from Wageningen University took samples from the dead sheep to confirm that they were killed by wolves. This is important for farmers to be able to get compensation for the losses. If sheep are killed by dogs, sheep farmers are often not compensated. In Germany, Poland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Spain and Sweden, the number of wolves are increasing. From these countries, the animals tend to spread all over Europe.

Wolves in Western US

In some parts of the US, the discussion about wolves is also on. Wolves were reintroduced to the American west 20 years ago. As the animals have established territory in places they‘ve been absent for a generation, the wolf has gained enemies as ranchers have lost cows and sheep. According to newspaper ‘the Oregorian’, in 2015, wolves in Eastern Oregon lost some endangered species protections because the population was considered stable. Animals in that part of the state that repeatedly prey on livestock can be killed under certain conditions. With more than 1.3 million cattle in Oregon, and another 200,000 sheep, wolf kills make up a tiny fraction of livestock deaths, experts say.

Plan to reintroduce dingoes

On the other side of the world, in Australia, sheep farmers are worried about dingoes after a land management plan has been developed by the region’s Aboriginal people, who hold native title rights for the land. ABC rural reports that reintroducing dingoes into the wild is one of the goals outlined in a draft strategy (the plan is not approved yet) for the joint management of 6 parks and reserves inside Dja Dja Wurrung Country (central Victoria). Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) livestock president, Leonard Vallance, said dingoes are a threat to farmed animals, particularly sheep. “The animals would need to be fenced in at a cost to the land management authorities not to farmers. Farmers would need to be compensated for livestock that were lost to dingoes,” Mr Vallance said to ABC rural. Pure dingoes are widely thought to have disappeared from Victoria. In their place are wild dogs born from interbreeding between dingoes and domestic dogs.

2 comments

  • Melanie Epp

    Where are the re-introduced wolves coming from?

  • Emmy Koeleman

    Wolves are still native to some European countries and since 1982 (convention of Bern), EU countries do more to protect wolves. This increased the number of wolves in Europe. Also in the Netherlands, the Ecologische Hoofdstructuur (connecting nature reserves together) enables animals to cross borders more easily (in this case from Germany to the Netherlands).

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