Hunting will again be allowed in areas populated by wolves in Flanders after regional authorities announced that a ban imposed to protect newborn wolf cubs will not be renewed.
Flemish Environment Minister Zouhal Demir said that a blanket hunting ban will no longer be necessary as the cubs have grown up.
“The wolves are now also able to move to other resting areas in their habitat, which is quite extensive,” Demir told HLN.
The hunting ban had been imposed in March, when a wolf called Noëlla was reported to have given birth to three cubs and was put in place until 31 August.
Demir moved to imposed the hunting ban to protect the wolf and her litter after another wolf named Naya and her newborn cubs were presumably killed by poachers.
Naya’s death sparked outrage with residents and animal conservation groups since it jeopardised their much-celebrated return of wild wolves into Belgian forests.
A thousand-euro reward for any tips leading to the presumed poachers was set up by conservation groups as well as an anonymous Belgian entrepreneur.
Despite the lifting of the ban, other measures to protect the wolves will remain in place, including regular checks by forest rangers and inspectors with the Flemish Agency for Nature and Forests.
Additionally, intensive monitoring with tracking technology and wildlife cameras will also be employed to ensure the animals are safe, while authorities will continue providing support to small livestock farmers active in the area.
The Brussels Times