Return of the Wolf ‘People Don’t Need to Be Afraid’

The last wolf in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein was killed in 1820, but now a lone individual has returned. As the species begins to reestablish itself in the country, a leading expert assured SPIEGEL that Germans don’t need to fear the wolf.

Hmm… dogs as small as dingoes are perfectly capable of killing a child. One wonders about the wisdom of allowing wild predators to re-infiltrate ‘safe’ regions given how urbanized people have become (not much “country sense” in townies, from what I can see).

For some 150 years wolves were extinct in Germany, but in the 1990s they began to return from Eastern Europe. Once reviled and feared, the shy animals have slowly begun to spread to the north and south, with 14 packs now on record in the country.

Late last month, the presence of a lone wolf was verified in the northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein, where the last of its kind is believed to have been killed in 1820, the state Environment Ministry reported.
But there are still fears, particularly among livestock owners, about the renewed presence of the wolves. In an interview with SPIEGEL, Markus Bathen, 40, a wolf expert for the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), discusses how perceptions are changing and whether the animals pose a danger to humans.


6 responses to “Return of the Wolf ‘People Don’t Need to Be Afraid’

  1. It would seem that Herr Bathen’s expertise on German wolves would be somewhat limited, seeing that the last wolf was killed 150 years before he was born.

  2. Part of the problem with chemophobia and the unconstrained chain reaction of restrictive regulations on chemicals that is currently choking our industrial productivity is that it is almost impossible to prove that anything (chemicals or wild animals) is “Safe”, but it only takes one ‘alleged’ incident to plant the seed of fear about something.
    Nonetheless, wolves can be safe if one simple procedure is applied to all wolves – domestication. Young mammals nursed, hand raised, weaned, and whelped by humans become dependent on humans. It has worked for dogs, cats, sheep, goats, cattle, and horses on a wide scale. Wolves raised to guard herds would be very effective against feral dogs, dingos, and such.

    • The reason it worked for wolves as they became dogs is that we selectively bred them to become something other than wolves. Even after these thousands of years breeding the wolf out of our canines, we still have to keep half an eye on them for our own safety.
      Even if they were raised by humans, they would bond with that particular human “pack.” They would never learn to treat all humans the same.
      In the nature versus nurture debate, when it comes to wolves… It is nature all the way.
      That is not to mention that they are very huge killing machines.

      • I’ve seen many dogs with the retained instinct to run down the big animal with the rest of the pack. It looks to us like they are chasing a car.

  3. I can’t remember the last time someone was killed by a coyote in Houston, despite them being endemic. You stay away from them and they stay away from you. Most importantly, if you see cute little puppies playing, turn around and walk away before momma makes you puppy chow.

    Larger wolves may be a bit of a problem if they don’t fear humans, and they are certainly a threat to domestic animals, but it’s nothing that cannot be appropriately dealt with.

  4. Ben. Look westward. California has very aggressive coyotes. As does Vancouver BC. In both instances the animal shave been ill advisedly fed by people. When not fed they become aggressive and bite or attack. They don’t fear humans as they aren’t hunted or harassed in the towns where this is happening. Wolves will not be beneficial to what passes for a livestock industry in Germ,any. I would expect them to be quite adept at putting a huge dent in the wild pig problems that are rampant in Germany.

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