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Shepherds issued emergency wolf kit

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Shepherds issued emergency wolf kit
A paper wolf and plastic sheep demonstrate the fence's effectiveness. Photo courtesy NRW Forestry Ministry
15:50 CET+01:00
Sheep farmers in a panic in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) over the wolf population can now get themselves a "herd protection set" from the the local government.

Stefan Befeld told The Local that the Forestry Ministry in NRW now has two sets of the special fences available for farmers who are worried about the encroaching wolf population.

"There are now several wolf dens in Lower Saxony and those dens mean there are more wolves coming into the world and those wolves are, of course, growing in number and seeking new territory," he said. "And some are migrating here into NRW."

The announcement comes after there have been confirmations that wolves are making their way back to NRW in the last month. Last week, forest cameras snapped a wolf east of Cologne.

A week before, on January 22, a sheep was found dead with bite marks. DNA tests confirmed it had been a wolf that attacked the animal.

"The herders here are welcoming the return of the wolf – they are a native species – but at the same time, they do pose a problem for them," said Befeld. "The loss of an animal can cause stress for the herd and, of course, costs the herder money."

Now farmers in the area can lend out one of two special herd protection kits from the state Forestry Ministry if they fear wolves are in the area.

Befeld says it's a way for farmers to protect their herds right away as building new fences takes time and money.

Both kits include 800 metres of electric fencing with special batteries and posts. Also included are camera traps so the ministry can get a better idea of how many wolves area really moving into the area.

The last wild wolf was hunted in NRW in 1835, but thanks to conservation measures, their numbers are going back up.

"We can't yet say that the packs here are thriving," said Befeld. "But they are something we need to do something about."

SEE ALSO: Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia

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