Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Wolf caught on camera trap in Belgium - Video

Wolf sighted in Belgium
September 2011. After some sheep were killed near the Belgian town of Gedinne in July, a TV camera crew set up an camera trap to see if, as suspected, a lynx had killed the sheep. Much to their, and everyone elses, surprise, what they caught on camera was not a lynx, but appeared to be a wolf (see below to view the video). To read more about this story and to find out about Animals in Trouble, the TV programme that set up the camera trap, click here.

First wolf in Belgium for 100 years
The last known Belgian wolf was seen in 1898, though there was a recent sighting in the Veluwe National Park in Holland of a lone wolf. This could potentially be the same wolf, or one from the same family. Either way, on the assumption that this wolf/wolves originated in Germany, they would have to have crossed several large motorways and rivers.

Veluwe National Park - Holland
De Hoge Veluwe National Park is the largest actively managed conservation area in private hands in the Netherlands. The Park covers 5,400 hectares of woodland, heathland, peat bogs and drift sand. It enjoys a wide variety of plants and animals and provides habitats to extremely rare Red List species.

Originally the Veluwe was surrounded by a string of swamps, heavily populated with game such as deer and wild boars because these areas offered rich vegetation to feed on. Since the 1990s many plans are underway, or have already been implemented, to restore these wetlands by blocking the drainage systems built by farmers during the last 150 years. This results in very dry heathland changing into wetland within a span of just a few hundred meters.

Parts of the Veluwe that have been separated from each other by roads, towns and farmland are being reconnected by returning farmland to nature and creating wildlife crossings over highways. In 2007, three of these overpasses had been built, each one about 50 meters wide and covered with sand and vegetation to encourage animals to use it. Six more will be built in the next five years. Wildlife corridors connecting the Veluwe to other wildlife areas such as the Oostvaardersplassen in the Netherlands and the Klever Reichswald in Germany are being developed. It is hoped that by doing so the genetic diversity of the wildlife population will increase.

Go to the website of the Veluwe National Park

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