Kangaroo killed in suspected wolf attack

Summary

A second kangaroo was injured late on Christmas Eve in the garden of their owners’ home in Antwerp province

Spate of sightings

A wolf is suspected to have killed one domestic kangaroo and injured another during a nocturnal attack over Christmas.

The missing kangaroo was probably dead and “eaten as Christmas dinner”, according to Jan Loos, director of the non-profit Landschap nature organisation. The injured kangaroo was bitten on the ear but in good health, he said.

The animals were in the garden of their owners’ home in Balen, Antwerp province, when the attack happened. Loos was called in to investigate on 25 December and believes a wolf was the culprit. “The animal crawled under the fence and took one kangaroo. These are relatively small animals, so that is no problem for a wolf," he told local media.

“I discovered wolf prints, so it’s almost certain that it was a wolf, but we’re not 100% sure which wolf it is,” he said. However, he suspects it was the male wolf known as August, who has been roaming Limburg since mid-2018, crisscrossing the German border.

Tracking movements

The latest suspected attack follows a spate of wolf sightings. Another wolf was spotted before Christmas by a jogger in the Oudsbergen neighbourhood of Limburg. The Agency for Nature and Woodlands (ANB) subsequently confirmed that it had found fresh paw prints in the area, close to August’s territory.

Landschap has been tracking the movements of wild wolves since their resurgence in the region. It runs the Welcome Wolf campaign and had reported wolf sightings in Lichtaart and Gierle in Antwerp province last Saturday, where footprints were also found. A farmer in Zoersel found a sheep that appeared to have been killed by a wolf.

Usually, wolves hunt and eat wild boar or deer, and sometimes attack cattle for convenience, said Loos. Farmers had been warned by the government to take measures to protect their livestock from wolf attacks.

An information meeting will be held at the end of February for owners of sheep and other animals in the Antwerp Kempen region, to learn how to protect their animals against the wolf. Residents can report wolf sightings via email or by calling Loos on 0495 32 53 30.

Photo: Archive footage of the wolf known as August who is suspected to be behind the attack on the kangaroos
© ANB