Wolf Plan Flanders

Joris Everaert, Dries Gorissen, Koen Van Den Berge, Jan Gouwy, Joachim Mergeay, Caroline Geeraerts, Ann Van Herzele, Marie-Laure Vanwanseele, Bram D'hondt, Koen Driesen

Research output: Book/ReportReports of Research Institute for Nature and Forest

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The European grey wolf was exterminated in Belgium at the end of the 19th century. In recent years, there have been sporadic observations of dispersing individuals in Wallonia (southern region of Belgium). In January 2018, the first confirmed new presence in Flanders (northern region of Belgium) was also a fact. It concerns the now locally well-known she-wolf Naya, equipped with a GPS-transmitter in Germany. She has settled for the time being in the province of Limburg. A second wolf - a young male - was killed in traffic in March 2018 in Opoeteren, also in Limburg. The second case also immediately demonstrates the challenges for species protection in Flanders, a highly fragmented region.

The presence of the wolf in Flanders will not remain limited to this one animal, given the expansion of the species all over Europe. Because its presence can cause confrontations (e.g. damage to livestock) and because it is a protected species, this Wolf Plan Flanders must meet the need to be prepared for this new situation and its possible consequences. Overall, we want to organise and facilitate living together with the wolf as much as possible.

The Wolf Plan Flanders has two main parts:

-     A descriptive section containing relevant ecological and legal background information and a social analysis (chapters 6 to 8). For these we rely on standard works about the wolf, existing wolf plans and experience from abroad, supplemented with specific literature where desirable or useful.

-     An action-oriented section on communication, identification and assessment of possible observations and damage claims, damage prevention and compensation, scientific research, as well as protection and conservation (chapters 9 to 13). This section also contains a description of the possible roles of and cooperation with actors (chapter 14), aiming at the launch and operation of a 'Platform Wolf' and associated working groups. Finally, Chapter 15 presents a compilation of 31 proposed actions.

At the moment, the Wolf Plan assumes that planned actions can be included financially within regular policy. For damage, there is the compensation scheme for which initiatives have recently been taken to amend the decision on compensating damage caused by wildlife; for communication and other actions, we make use of the channels available to Flemish public administrations and other actors.

The answer to questions that are still partly open (e.g. how many wolves can live in Flanders, the possible problems of hybridisation, possible support for preventive measures) will be given gradually in the coming years. The starting point here is that the Flemish context is very specific (population density, fragmentation, infrastructure, interwoven agricultural-nature areas, surface of nature areas,...), which means that it is not possible to make correct assumptions today based on the current experiences in neighbouring countries.

Translated title of the contributionWolf Plan Flanders
Original languageDutch
PublisherInstituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek
Number of pages84
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameRapporten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek

Thematic list

  • Fauna management
  • Nature management
  • Damage management (management)
  • Natura 2000 and conservation objectives
  • Species policy
  • Society
  • Fragmentation
  • Space
  • Fauna
  • Biotopes

Taxonomic list

  • carnivores (Carnivora)


  • fauna management
  • Habitats Directive
  • conservation goals
  • hunting
  • Natura 2000
  • wildlife damage policy
  • species directed nature management
  • social aspects of forest and nature
  • spatial planning policy
  • recreation policy

Geographic list

  • Flanders


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