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Dead wolf found by Dutch roadside 'was put there for a joke'

A wolf found dead by the roadside in Flevoland is thought to have been dumped there as a prank.

Wolves have been migrating westwards through Germany for 15 years and may already have reached the Netherlands.The discovery of a carcass on the north-east polder, near the village of Luttelgeest, prompted a flurry of speculation that wild wolves had returned to the Netherlands after a 116-year absence.

But initial reports that the beast was hit by a car as it roamed the Flevoland fields have been dismissed by animal welfare experts.

Evert Menkveld, of Faunabeheer Flevoland, said there had been no reports from the police of a collision between a car and a large animal in recent days. Such a crash would have caused at least €2500 worth of damage, he told NOS.

The dead wolf was also found with the remains of a freshly eaten beaver in its stomach, even though there are no beavers in Flevoland.

Mr Menkveld said: “I think people found I somewhere, maybe in Germany or Poland – there are a lot of Polish people working in the Luttelgeest area.

“They could have brought it with them, left it on the verge and said, let’s see what happens here.”

While the Luttelgeest wolf may have been imported post mortem, there is growing evidence that wolves may indeed be staking out other parts of the Dutch countryside.

Wolves are known to have lived in Germany for the last 15 years, having migrated from Poland and spread westwards. In April a young wolf was photographed on an airfield near Meppen, 20 kilometres from the Dutch border.

Andre Donker, a forest ranger in Drenthe, said the remains of a deer found in the Dwingelderveld national park showed signs of having been attacked by a large predator such as a wolf.

“Walkers are increasingly telling me that they have seen a wolf. But without a photo there’s no evidence,” he said.

He added that there were plenty of attractions for wolves in the Netherlands: “We have an abundance of food, far more than in Germany where there are already whole packs of wolves. We’re stuffed with muskrats, ducks, geese and deer.”

The last official sighting of a wolf in the wild was near Heeze, North Brabant, in 1897. After an absence of more than a century, it seems they once again have their eyes on the fauna-rich Dutch countryside.