Conflicts with Wolves Can Originate from Their Parent Packs

Transmission of experience about prey and habitat supports the survival of next generation

of wolves. Thus, the parent pack (PP) can affect whether young migrating wolves (loners) kill

farm animals or choose to be in human environments, which generates human–wolf conflicts.

Therefore, we researched whether the behavior of loners resembles PP behavior. After being extinct,

22 loners had entered the Netherlands between 2015 and 2019. Among them, 14 could be

DNA-identified and linked with their PPs in Germany. Some loners were siblings. We assessed the

behavior of each individual and PP through a structured Google search. PP behavior was determined

for the loner’s rearing period. Similarity between loner and PP behavior was significant (p =

0.022) and applied to 10 of 14 cases: like their PPs, three loners killed sheep and were near humans,

five killed sheep and did not approach humans, while two loners were unproblematic, they did not

kill sheep, nor were they near humans. Siblings behaved similarly. Thus, sheep killing and proximity

to humans may develop during early-life experiences in the PP. However, by negative reinforcement

that can be prevented. New methods are suggested to achieve that. As a result, new

generations may not be problematic when leaving PPs.

In: van Liere, D.; Siard, N.; Martens, P.; Jordan, D. 2021. Conflicts with Wolves Can Originate from Their Parent Packs. Animals 2021, 11, 1801.

The heat is on

The heat is on in the Netherlands, as repeated wolf attacks on sheep stir up the fire. A flock of the same farmer had to deal with surplus killing three times within five days. And more is happening in the same region. The authorities support the application of (mobile) electric fences. That’s it. They don’t know what else to do to easy the farmer’s pain. But most fences are not effective to keep out an experienced, motivated wolf. And not effective to prevent surplus killing, as sheep keep running within the fences, keep triggering the predator and lacking a functional response as natural sheep would have. So the poor sheep will be killed again and again and the farmers will tend to push to kill wolves. A gloomy prediction, and frustrating as with all the intelligence we have, the Netherlands, like in other EU countries, advised by a small group of each-other-echoing experts stick to fences. My plea is simple: farmers have to be supported to innovate, as the wolf is here to stay.

Resolute schapenmoeders

Er zijn interessante beelden gepubliceerd van hoe verschillende moederschapen zich naast elkaar opstellen tegenover tegen een naderende wolf. Er zijn ook andere Youtube-beelden die een moederschaap tonen dat achter een wolf aanzit. In de eerste beelden is er een hekje tussen de tegenstanders. Het geeft een schok aan de ambivalente wolf als ze uiteindelijk wat dichterbij komt.  Dit ondermijnt duidelijk de neiging om nog meer te naderen en de wolf vertrekt. Het gedrag van de moederschapen verdient de meeste eer. In de link de bronnen van de beelden en een artikel dat de eer aan het moederschaap geeft.