The recent return of wolves to Denmark’s countryside has been celebrated by Danish nature enthusiasts, but for others, including Torsten Nielsen, the mayor of Viborg, it’s been a point of concern.
The wolf has been protected in the EU since 1992, but Nielsen wants to apply for permission from the EU to shoot them in light of recent sightings near kindergartens in Viborg and Randers.
“The big problem we have in Denmark is that we don’t know what the wolves would be capable of if they got hungry enough,” Nielsen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
“The worst-case scenario is that the wolf attacks a little kid walking a dog. It can’t be right that something has to happen before we act.”
Nielsen also contended that the increasing wolf population in Denmark – up from one in 2012 to 19 in 2015 – makes it virtually impossible for Danish farmers to leave their livestock grazing on their fields.
But Nielsen’s fears are unfounded, according to Thomas Secher Jensen, a senior researcher at Aarhus University.
Jensen argues that the wolves are wild and not as unpredictable as Nielsen is making them out to be.
Furthermore, he said, the farmer issue is down to not having proper fencing, but an initiative by the nature authorities Naturstyrelsen, in co-operation with the national sheep-breeding association Dansk Fåreavlerforening, allows full compensation for farmers who need to put up fences.