Dutch Court Says Wolves Can Be Shot With Paintball Guns

Female wolf in nature reserve has been getting 'increasingly bolder,' expert says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2024 2:06 PM CST
Dutch Court Says Wolves Can Be Shot With Paintball Guns
The European Commission is looking at revising the protected status for wolves in the EU.   (Getty Images/kjekol)

After a long legal battle, a court in the Netherlands has ruled that authorities can shoot wolves with paintball guns if the animals are showing behavior deemed "deviant." The wolves in question are part of a small pack in De Hoge Veluwe National Park, a nature reserve around the size of Manhattan. A wolf expert hired by Gelderland province found that one wolf in particular was showing problematic behavior, NL Times reports. The female wolf was becoming "increasingly bolder," approaching hikers and cyclists and allowing photographers to get near her, the expert said.

"The expert concludes that this unnatural behavior poses a serious threat to public safety," the Dutch court said in its ruling, per the AP. "The fact that the wolf seems to be less and less afraid of people does not mean that the animal can no longer become aggressive and bite." As a protected species, wolves in the Netherlands can't be hunted. The court said that methods including shouting had failed to scare wolves away from humans and pepper spray had been rejected as too dangerous for the animals, reports AFP.

"There is no other satisfactory solution than shooting the wolf with a paintball gun," the court said, adding that "it is necessary in the interest of public safety." The AP reports that a wildlife protection organization plans to appeal the ruling. (More wolves stories.)

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