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Second wolf pup in two weeks killed in traffic

18:45 22/10/2020
From Flanders Today

Another wolf from the litter born in Limburg last spring has been killed by a moving vehicle. It is the second wolf hit by early morning traffic in the area in less than two weeks.

Last May, Flanders’ only wolf pair – Noëlla and August – produced the first litter of wolf pups to be born in Flanders in 150 years. The return of the wolf to the region a few years ago has been heralded as a sign that environmental policies are allowing wildlife to replenish.

But according to Sil Janssen of the Nature Help Centre in Oudsbergen, wildlife in Flanders is extremely vulnerable to fast-moving traffic. There is limited habitat between motorways, so larger animals, like wolves and deer, are regularly required to cross them.

Young animals are not used to the dangers of motorways and so are vulnerable to getting killed by vehicles. “We only hear about the wolves, but you have no idea how many deer get hit,” Janssen told VRT. “The only thing that can help is wildlife viaducts and fencing. This will help protect the animals but also people because a large animal crossing the motorway also puts motorists at risk.”

Flanders has a few “ecoducts” – essentially bridges that act as wildlife crossings. Special fencing is used to help guide animals to the bridge. The ecoduct at Groenendael, part of the Sonian Forest, was recently reported to be helping up to 200 species, from deer and foxes to mice and salamanders.

The wolf hit by a truck this week probably died instantly, said Janssen. “The police were on the scene within 15 minutes, but the wolf was dead when they arrived.”

There is some good news regarding the wolf pack, however: One of four born in May was thought to have not survived, but recent footage from a wildlife camera showed three young wolves again. While one of them has now died in traffic, there are still two left.

Photo: The young wolf probably died on impact ©Courtesy Nature Help Centre

Written by Flanders Today