wolf nederland
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While Belgian farmers spotted a wolf near the Belgian town of Meerhout in January this year, its first wolf sighting in 100 years, a wolf was spotted in the Dutch eastern province of Gelderland on Wednesday morning. The wolf was seen in several places, and was photographed and filmed.

Experts from the Dutch Wolven in Nederland and the German Lupus Institut - organisations specialized in wolves - confirmed the sighting. It's the third wolf sighting in the Netherlands so far this year.

The wolf was first spotted in the early hours of the morning. A driver used the headlamps of his car to shine light on the animal before he filmed it in the Betuwe, an area in Gelderland. Several hours later, a wolf was spotted 10 kilometers to the west, along the Nether Rhine. Later, a wolf was seen on the other side of the Nether Rhine. Wolven in Nederland suggests the sightings are all of the same wolf.

In addition, this wolf could have been the same animal that was spotted across the border in the German town of Rees a couple of days earlier, on February 19th.

See the video below of the wolf spotted in the Dutch province of Gelderland:

Wolf sightings in the Netherlands

The first wolf sighting of the year was in the east of the Netherlands and was reported around New Year's. That wolf has apparently been tracked and is now in Belgium. Earlier this month, a second wolf was spotted in the Dutch province of Twente. This wolf is still present in the area.

Wolven in Nederland and Dutch news website Nature Today report that there appears to be a migration of wolves coming from Germany. They say it is because of the steady growth of the wolf population in Germany. Since the first German wolf pack was (re)established in 2000, the German wolf population has grown to at least 60 wolf packs.

They add that every year, the adolescent wolves are in search for a habitat of their own and that this leads to the German-Polish wolf population moving westwards, resulting in more wolf sightings in the Netherlands. The first confirmed wild wolf in the Netherlands in over 150 years was found dead in 2013, and the first live sighting of a wolf occurred in 2015.

Wolven in Nederland provides the following table of wolf sightings in the Netherlands so far:
  • March 2015 - Drenthe - Groningen
  • August 2016 - Beuningen (Ov)
  • March 2017 - Hoogeveen
  • September 2017 - Veluwe
  • November 2017 - Kloosterhaar (Ov)
  • December 2017 - January 2018 - Ov - Dr - Gld - Limb - N-Br
  • February 2018 - Twente (vervaagd)
  • February 2018 - Betuwe-Veluwe
Wolves have also recently reappeared in Denmark for the first time in 200 years, and outside Rome, Italy, for the first time in over 100 years. Meanwhile, other big predators like lynx and bears and are also returning to western Europe.

While wolves do not exclusively live in cold climates, natural Earth Changes resulting in colder climates in Europe may have contributed to making the environment more to their liking, possibly resulting in young wolves willing to explore other areas, including countries as densely populated as the Netherlands.