Europe could be reconsidering protections for the rising wolf population after EU President’s pony is killed by a wolf. In September, Ursula von der Leyen’s pony, Dolly, was grazing with another pony in northern Germany when she was attacked. On the scene, the specialists took DNA samples to find who killed the 30-year-old pony.
On December 7, it was determined that the wolf tagged GW950m was the culprit. Wolf GW950m was accused of killing a total of 12 sheep and cows, not including the pony. For this reason, an exemption was made for the protected wolf, and a kill order was issued. They have until January 31, 2023 to kill the wolf.
Now, Ursula von der Leyen would like the EU to look further into the wolf population and protection status. She does not believe that the wolf population is at risk. Instead, she believes that they are a threat to farmers and livestock. She is not alone in thinking like this.
In France, people are claiming that the French mountain deer and fawn population has declined due to the increase in the wolf population. In Germany, the butchers are complaining about a lack of business. They state that fewer hunters come in with boars, deer, or other animals due to wolves. Are the wolves to blame, or is wildlife just better at hiding than being hunted?
Wolf Population in Europe
In the last fifty years, Europe’s wolf population has increased by 1,800 percent. Since 1979, wolves have been recognized as strictly protected in Europe; now, this could all change. In November during the European Parliament resolution meeting, they stated that 20,000 sheep are killed in EU annually. That is only 0.06% of the sheep population, so why panic? They also claim that wolves increase human fatalities, yet there wasn’t a single wolf-human fatality reported in the 21st century in Europe.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare has called on the European Parliament to rethink their plans to reduce wolf protection. Along with other animal rights activists, they believe the MEPs should think about fully compensating farmers for damages and livestock loss. This would benefit farmers more than just killing off the grey wolf population.
It’s sad to see the EU revert on its past opinions of protecting the wolf population. Instead of looking for ways to coexist with them, they would instead reduce their numbers. If only wolf GW950m killed someone else’s pony, this change would not be happening. Who knew that when a 30-year-old pony is killed by a wolf, the world would go back to see them all as “big-bad-wolves.”