Belgium again without wolves

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Wed, 16.10.2019 - 15:12

Photo: Valeri Štšerbatõh
Estonian text posted 13.10.2019

In January 2018 a young female wolf Naya came into the international news flow.  She travelled during ten days from Germany through the Netherlands to East Belgium, crossing nearly 500 kilometres. Now Naya is again in the pan-European news – more than likely the female wolf and her offspring have fallen victim to poachers.

The wolf that was given the name Naya by the public was the first wolf that be been seen in Belgium

in more than a 100 years. The last known wolf was shot there in 1897

Naya’s arrival in Belgium also served a major nature conservation gaol  - the wolf was finally back in every mainland European country.  Even more excitement caused the news that Naya had been seen in August 2018 moving in company with a male wolf that was given the name August. Maybe soon family increase could be expected! And indeed in May 2019 a trail camera record gave reason to suggest that Naya was pregnant.


After May there has however been no sign of Naya and her whelps. Naya’s GPS collar has at the same time turned silent. August however has been seen in the trail camera and he is alive and in good health. But changes in his behaviour confirm that he leads the life of a single wolf.

Wolves will not move far from their home territory when they have whelps. They will not die  in birthing. Death on a highway would surely already have become known. The story of Maya reminds clearly of the mysterious disappearance of our own Sindi wolf, In the case of Naya too poaching is seen as the only logical explanation. especially considering the angry phone calls to wolf protectors in which some of the wolf hating fraction threatened to kill the animals. But any really waterproof evidence (such as the carcass of the animal)  has not been found and so the theory of poaching has not found official support.


There is nothing to be done, the life of a wolf is not easy anywhere and poaching is a great threat to  wolves nearly everywhere. It is particularly complicated for wolves that have settled in countries where wolves have not been present for more than 100 years and humans have to get used to the presence of the top predator in the forests again, In the Netherlands too for instance there are stories of the mysterious disappearance of wolves – three out of 16 wolves seen in the country during the last four years have disappeared.


Laura Kiiroja


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