Baby wolves in Flanders by next year, says conservation expert
Another wolf has joined Naya in Limburg, which could mean a litter of pups by next spring, a first for Flanders in 150 years
Nine sheep killed
Naya was fitted with a tracking device in Germany, where she came from. She was first spotted in Flanders early this year. The new wolf has no tracking device so is unknown to conservationists.
“We had another wolf here in March, but unfortunately, it was hit by a car,” Jan Loos of Landschap told VRT. “This one is thus the third wolf to arrive here from somewhere else. It is proof that there are natural corridors in Europe along which animals move around.”
The new wolf made his presence known by killing nine sheep in Limburg over the last week. Wolves often kill more prey than they can eat if they get the chance, a phenomenon known as “surplus killing,” explained Loos. They later come back to eat the previously killed animal, saving them the effort of having to hunt again.
Whether the new wolf acted alone or together with Maya is not yet known. DNA taken from the sheep will show which wolf killed them and if the new wolf is, in fact, a male.
Though Loos is already certain that it is. “The wolf is quite a bit larger than Maya, plus she tolerates his presence. Two female wolves who aren’t related to each other don’t usually get along.”
If it turns out it is a male, “then there is a very good chance that they will produce a litter of pups. We can expect them by next spring, anywhere from two to seven.” Though if a larger litter is produced, they usually don’t all survive, he noted.
It would be the first time wolf pups are born in Flanders in at least 150 years.
Photos: Top, the new wolf. Above, a camera mounted in a forest catches Maya (right) and the new wolf together