In February a dead deer was discovered in Lokeren. The animal’s injuries seemed to have been inflicted by a wolf. East Flanders now joins Antwerp, Limburg and Flemish Brabant as the natural habitat of the wolf.
“The wolf belongs to a central European population” says Joachim Mergaey. “There are various genetic groups in Europe. Two end up in our climes: the Franco-Italian group and the Central European one. The latter occurs chiefly in Germany and Poland. A wolf from this group has been living in the Valley of the River Durme near outside Lokeren”.
Researchers believe the wolf that killed the deer in February was a drifter in search of a quick bite and will have moved on by now.
Mergaey thinks more wolves will be sighted in the area in coming years: “There are simply more drifters in Belgium, the Netherlands and France”.
The scientist urges people not to be afraid of wolves: “There is an infinitesimal chance a wolf will attack a human. It’s so small you can’t calculate it. Drifters are unguided missiles, but swiftly pass by. You don’t need to worry about a wolf. A wild boar is far more dangerous”.