Thursday, 8 February 2018

Harmless or vicious hunter? The uneasy return of Europe's wolves


This winter the first wolf in 100 years arrived in Belgium, completing the animals’ return to mainland Europe. But can Europeans relearn how to live alongside the predators?


Fri 26 Jan 2018 15.25 GMTLast modified on Fri 26 Jan 2018 22.00 GMT

To some it is a roe deer that eats meat: an adaptable animal capable of living peaceably alongside humans. To others it is a demonic killing machine that ruins farmers – and whose presence is a symbol of the city’s contempt for rural life.

The wolf is on the rise in Europe. This winter it finally reconquered Belgium, the last mainland European country from which it had been absent after decades of persecution.

After crossing the Alps from Italy to France in 1992 and from Poland into Germany at the turn of this century, the wolf has slipped into densely populated territory where people have no memory of living alongside it. Experts say Germany’s wolf population is growing “exponentially”– and spreading, into Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Denmark, which discovered its first wolf pack for 200 years last spring.



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