A wolf has been spotted in Flemish Brabant for the first time in two centuries, caught on film in Heverlee near Leuven.
Footage of the wolf was captured on 30 December 2021 as it crossed the junction between Geldenaaksebaan and the Meerdaalboslaan (the N25), but the video wound up in the spam folder of organisation Welkom Wolf, who only discovered it recently.
The animal emerged at 6:07 from the Researchpark in Haasrode and disappeared in the direction of the Ambachtenlaan and Heverleebos, Belga News Agency reports.
The wolf has been confirmed to be a stray young adult who has left the nest and is looking for its own territory and a partner.
The wolf’s return to Europe
The report is not entirely unexpected. On 19 December, in Tielt-Winge, a municipality in the east of Flemish Brabant, a dead deer was found with signs of being bitten by a wolf.
The Institute for Nature and Forest Research is currently examining the DNA samples that were collected at the scene, so it is not yet clear whether the dead deer in Tielt-Winge can be linked to the spotted wolf in Heverlee.
The last time wolves were spotted in Flemish Brabant was around the year 1800. In the decades that followed, the wolf became all but extinct in Belgium, just like in the rest of Western Europe, before making a comeback in recent years.