Wolves in Flanders: increase in cubs and costs

In the Belgian province of Limburg, wolf cubs have been born for the third year in a row. This is reported by the Institute for Nature and Forest Research (INBO). It is unclear how many cubs there are. Nevertheless, it is important for livestock farmers to take wolf-protection measures to prevent further conflicts.

"The number of cubs is unknown and will remain so for some time, as they are still hidden and we do not want to disturb the animals at this time," the the Institute for Nature and Forest Research mentioned. With the arrival of the new cubs, the search for more food will increase. "Protective measures for the wolves remain important for the livestock owners in the wolf area."

Whether the birth of the new cubs will reignite the debate about the wolf is another question, as the animal has both supporters and opponents. In recent months and years, the wolf has regularly been the subject of fierce discussions. While angry farmers and horse owners, supported by the Boerenbond, CD&V and other interest groups, want to ban the wolf, the association Welkom Wolf and the Nature and Forest Agency call for reasonableness. 

When wolf Naya was the first to arrive at the military domain in Helchteren, Limburg, in 2018, it was only the hunting association Hubertus Vereniging Vlaanderen that did not react too enthusiastically to the reintroduction of the animal. Today, several parties prefer to see the wolf leave.

Financial cost

The return of the species is also accompanied by a financial cost. In 2021, the Flemish government spent some 212,000 euros, of which 65,000 euros were spent on wolf-proof fencing. Other costs that were made: scientific research, field visits and information campaigns (57,996 euros), purchase of wildlife cameras (35,850 euros) and the renewed website, leaflets and the wolf exhibition (20,937 euros). The budget spent in 2021 was about 40 percent higher than the year before. 

Despite the rising costs, Flemish minister for the environment and tourism emphasises the benefits of the animal's presence. "I think of ecotourism or the scientific studies that show that wolves can suppress or prevent the presence and spread of wildlife diseases such as tuberculosis and swine fever. Those are benefits that are very difficult for us to quantify," she told the Nieuwsblad last month.

Today the wolf is protected, both in Flanders and in Europe. The European Habitat Directive (92/43/EEC) has given the wolf a protected status since 1992. Due to the improved protection of the species and its habitats, the European wolf population has been increasing again since the 1970s. 


The return of the animal is not only causing a stir in Flanders. In almost all European countries where the species returns, conflicts arise from problem situations: between wolves and people, between wolves and dogs and between wolves and cattle. A wolf involved in these situations is quickly labelled a problem wolf. 

To deal with the growing wolf population, the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee proposed in January that Member States and local authorities be allowed to take 'management measures'. The fate of the wolf will be a long and difficult debate in the coming months, both in Flanders and in Europe, with undoubtedly high tensions between the committees and the Environment and Agriculture ministers. 


© Belga Photo Pino Misuraca


Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels