Another Shetland pony has been killed by a wolf in Belgium, not long after around 3,000 people took part in a torchlit parade to protest the presence of wolves running wild in the Flemish countryside.
The pony was mauled to death in Oudsbergen, a municipality in the Belgian province of Limburg, according to the Flemish infocentre for agriculture and horticulture (VILT).
Four cows have also fallen victim to wolves in the last two weeks.
Passers-by discovered the dead pony on Wednesday.
“The pony was 15 years old and was chased by wolves. The animal probably walked through the fence,” the owner of the pony told De Standaard.
A donkey that was also in the meadow with the pony was not attacked.
“In any case, it was not a gentle affair,” the owner said. “We suspect that they dragged the animal through the meadow for more than 100 metres. The drag marks, blood, guts and bones are scattered everywhere.”
The meadow is fenced off with barbed wire and electric wire, but the fence was not wolf-proof.
The Agency for Nature and Forests says that the wolf-proofing of pastures is crucial in the fight against wolf attacks on livestock, and there has been a flood of requests for such fencing in recent weeks amid all the new attacks.
VILT says that for a long time, experts assumed that wolves would not attack horses or cattle, which meant that owners of these animals were not entitled to subsidies for wolf-proofing their pastures.
But after two ponies and a number of cows, one of which was pregnant, were killed by the wolf, it was suggested that the subsidy be activated for horse and cattle owners as well now.
The new attack makes local residents particularly worried.
“We want the government to take our concerns seriously and expect proposals for dealing with the wolf problem,” they said at the recent march.
After the new attack, protestors are considering further actions.