Sheep doubling behind wolf-proof grid in pack territory

In the territory of the wolf pack in the Drents-Friese Wold, twice as many sheep are behind wolf-resistant grids as last year. The number of locations where sheep were well protected has tripled. This is evident from a count by wolf expert Hans Hasper.

Together with volunteers, Hasper counted the number of sheep in the more than 400 square kilometers of territory of the pack in the Drents-Friese Wold. He came to a number of 7,123 sheep. Last year there were 8,777; that is 19 percent more.

Of the sheep that were outside, about 1,186 were possibly protected in 2022, or 17 percent. In 2021 this was still 8 percent. At that time, 724 sheep were behind a wolf-resistant grid of a total of 8,777 sheep.

This year, 452 locations were counted where sheep were kept and of these, 25 were possibly wolf-resistant, or 5.5 percent. Last year this involved 329 locations, of which 6 locations had wolf-resistant grids. That is 1.8 percent, or a tripling this year.

These may be protected sheep, because the height of the fences has not been measured and the amount of electricity has not been measured. Practice shows that apparently wolf-resistant gratings sometimes do not meet the standards of BIJ12. BIJ12 is the agency that handles the damage on behalf of the provinces.

The BIJ12 standards for wolf-resistant fencing include a height of 1.20 metres, 5 power wires and a voltage of 4.5 kilovolts. The bottom wire should be no more than 20 centimeters from the surface.

As far as Hasper is concerned, the increase in the number of sheep behind wolf-resistant fencing says “that sheep farmers may be tacking a bit. That they see that something has to be done. And if one sheep farmer is over the dam, hopefully more will follow.”

Hasper is doing the count because he wanted to know how many potential prey are available to the wolf when it was first spotted in the spring of 2021. “I don’t know of any location with a wolf pack where there are only deer. So I thought that Drenthe was not a location for a wolf pack. You also saw that they packed a lot of sheep; the sheep is easy prey here. A sheep is 70 kilograms, a deer maybe 20 kilograms. So I understand that the wolf came here. everything had been behind wolf-proof fencing when the wolf first came here, I don’t know if the wolf would have stayed here.”

The sheep were counted in the same period as last year. The same route has also been followed. The intention is to carry out the census every year.