A wolf has probably been on the prowl in the Kempen region of Antwerp, members of the Landschap vzw environmental association reported on Tuesday.
After the discovery of pawprints in Lichtaart (Kasterlee) and Gierle on Saturday, a farmer in Zoersel discovered the carcasses of two sheep likely killed by the wolf.
The Instituut voor Natuur en Bosonderzoek (INBO – Institute for Nature and Forest Research) went to Zoersel on Monday to take DNA samples from one of the carcasses.
“The animal was killed by a bite to the neck, the trademark of a wolf,” Landschap said.
INBO scientists will now analyse the samples but, according to the environmental association and its partners in the “Welkom Wolf” campaign, the results leave little place for doubt. “We would really be surprised if it’s not a wolf in the Zoersel case, especially given the prints observed in Lichtaart and Gierle in previous days,” the association commented.
However, there is no guarantee that the wolf will remain in the area or in the country, according to Landschap, noting that it could be a wandering young adult.
“Young wolves leave their pack between the ages of 10 and 12 months and, in any event, before their second birthday,” the association explained.
“They leave to look for territory and a mate, then wander across Europe, a journey that can take them more than 1,000 km away, in any direction. There is a big possibility that the animal came from a pack in Germany and transited through the Netherlands before arriving here.”
Wolves can travel 80 km in one night, so the one whose pawprints were detected in Flanders may already have left the country.