Hunting, drinking water, sleeping and walking around: that’s what the wolf‘s daily routine looks like on the Veluwe. Natuurmonumenten has captured the wolf with various cameras and is now sharing these unique images for the first time:
In the spring, foresters on the Veluwe already noticed that there was something else. Deer walked in different places than usual and also in different groups. They were more frightened than usual. “As a forest ranger you know how animals behave, so I immediately wondered: what’s going on?” says forest ranger Frank Theunissen. “The whole dynamic in the forest was different.”
Then, in May, excrement and paw prints of a wolf were found. “With these, we found the explanation for the changed behaviour of the game.”
After the discovery the ranger hung up several cameras to see if the wolf would settle down. “On June 14 I saw the wolf for the first time in the picture, that was really a party. I took the SD card out of the camera and didn’t know what to expect. And then all of a sudden I saw her: there’s a wolf in my garden and I’m the first to see it,” Theunissen says enthusiastically.
It wasn’t just once: never before has a wolf been captured so often and so sharply in the Netherlands.
On the statues the wolf-female walks with a boar-big in her mouth, plays with a branch, drinks from a pool and drags a roe deer with her. There are also statues of a crippled red deer that was probably attacked by the wolf. But the video footage also shows a male red deer repelling himself with his giant antlers.
“I really like that image,” says Theunissen. “How big is the chance at all that you get such an interaction on film? You see the playfulness of the wolf and the pride of the deer. The wolf wants to jennen and that deer says, ‘I’m big, I’m healthy, I’m not afraid of you.'”
Those are incredibly unique moments, says Theunissen. “I don’t think anyone has ever seen interactions like this before.”
Nature lovers don’t have to avoid the area now. The wolf is afraid of people, explains Theunissen. “Man is no prey for the wolf. The animal has learned over the centuries that it must be afraid of humans. A red deer is basically as dangerous as a wolf.”
So be sure to come for a walk in the Veluwe, says the forest ranger. “And if you’re face to face with the wolf, you have to respect the power of the animal and know your place.”
It seems that the wolf wants to stay in the area. On the images you can see that she marks fixed spots with urine and almost every day she goes back to those spots to check if another wolf has been there. That doesn’t seem to be the case so far. “Now it’s waiting for a male to find her, we’ve got real hope. That we also get a litter on the South Veluwe. That’s a nice cliffhanger.”