A wolf cub photographed by Pascal Ghiette

First wolf cubs born in High Fens in centuries

An environmentalist has been able to snap wolf cubs born in the High Fens nature reserve in eastern Belgium.  It’s the first time in two centuries that wolves have bred in this area. 

A local scientist discovered the family of wolves and was able to take photographs.  There are at least three cubs aged under 5 weeks.  The father is believed to be Akela, a wolf who staked out his territory here in 2018 after crossing the border from Germany.  In recent months he has been joined by a female.

Pascal Ghiette works for the local environment department and was counting bird populations when he encountered the wolves.

Pascal first saw two adults.  Then he noticed movement in the high grass.  He first thought it was a fox cub, but it turned out to be a wolf cub.  He saw three cubs in all and managed to take snaps. The cubs had just left their lair. 

It’s pretty exceptional to see wolves at close quarters.  The High Fens cover an area of 70,000 hectares and the animals usually prefer to stay out of sight.

Environmentalists are remaining shtum as to the precise whereabouts of the wolves to ensure they are not disturbed.  “Wolf cubs are so vulnerable during the first months” said environmentalist Alain Licoppe. “They mustn’t be disturbed.  That’s why it’s so important ramblers keep to the paths and dogs are on a leash.”

Half of all wolf cubs perish during their first year, often by being run down. In recent years wolf cubs have been born in Flanders, notably in Limburg Province.  The animals mate in February and this is what must have happened for a first time in centuries in the High Fens earlier this year.

The Flemish environmental organisation Welkom Wolf is urging people who visit areas of natural beauty like the Ardennes this summer to report any wolf sightings.

Top stories