In January 2018, the first wolf sighting to happen in Belgium occurred after over a decade. Now, environmentalists are claiming that it is near certain that the wolf has been killed.
Of all the countries in continental Europe, Belgium has been the only one to report an absence of wild wolves. Over the past decade, the wolf population has dwindled drastically due to hunting and urbanisation, however in recent years researchers have seen a steady increase.
The wolf found in Belgium, which has since been given the name Naya, first made waves in the scientific community after making the nearly 500km trip from Germany all the way to Belgium where she’s settled down since.
Naya had been closely observed researchers and environmentalists since her discovery nearly 2 years ago. Researchers fear for the worst as she’s not been seen since the end of May. Even worse, her wolf pups are nowhere to be found either.
Who’s to blame?
Sil Janssen, an official from the Natuurhulpcentrum animal shelter located in Oudsbergen, Belgium, claims that it is ‘virtually certain’ that she’s been killed, and believes that hunters are responsible for her death.
‘I am 100 percent sure that Naya was shot. It is the only plausible explanation,’ Janssen explains.
‘Hunters have free rein in the area... They may hunt wild boars there, but if they suddenly have a wolf in front of them, they will not hesitate’.
Members from Belgian hunting associations have since denied these claims, saying there’s no evidence to back up the fact that they are indeed responsible for Naya’s disappearance.
There’s currently a €10,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to the identification of the culprit.
Check out the video above and see footage of this historic wolf in action.