An anonymous businessman has upped the reward for anyone who helps identify the presumed killers of wolf Naya and her cubs, who inhabited a Flemish forest.
The businessman, who a Flemish conservation group said wishes to remain anonymous, announced he would throw in €10,000 to a reward fund set up by different environmental groups in the hopes of finding the presumed poachers. This would bring the total reward up to €30,000.
At the start of the week, a Flemish nature agency said Naya, which inhabited a forest in Limburg where she gave birth to cubs in May, had "most certainly" been killed by professional hunters.
"The perpetrators deliberately invaded the den to search for and kill the wolf and its young,” Flemish agency Natuur en Bos said.
Following news of the reward fund, a Flemish hunters association said it would sue two Flemish nature associations for their "scandalous and biased" allegations.
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A call for information launched by a Dutch animal rights group following news of the wolves' deaths offered an initial reward of €5,000 for a "golden tip" for information.
The amount quickly rose to €20,000 after other nature and environmental protection agencies pitched in on the reward, with nature conservation group Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen topping it off with €10,000 and animal shelter centre Natuurhulpcentrum with an additional €5,000.
The Antwerp businessman said his contribution would go to Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen's account, which said that messages from the public were "pouring in."
"Everything seems to indicate that the public no longer accepts that some people give themselves the right to decide on which animals get to live or die," the conservation group wrote in a statement.
"Without proof, no lawsuit, no lawsuit, no conviction," the statement continued, adding that the response to Naya's death had led to uncovering numerous hunting offences which would have otherwise stayed under the radar.
In a statement released on 1 October, the conservation group said that if several tips led to the conviction of the "perpetrator of this cowardly crime," the reward would be distributed among the informants.
The Brussels Times