Conflicts with Wolves Can Originate from Their Parent Packs
Institute for Coexistence with Wildlife, Heuvelweg 7, 7218 BD Almen, The Netherlands
Department of Animal Science, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Groblje 3, 1230 Domžale, Slovenia
Maastricht Sustainability Institute, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pia Lucidi
Received: 21 April 2021
Revised: 11 June 2021
Accepted: 13 June 2021
Published: 16 June 2021
Conflicts with wolves arise because wolves kill farm animals, especially sheep, or approach humans. It is expected that young wolves learn from their parent pack (PP) what their prey is and if it is safe to be near humans. To confirm this, we researched whether the behavior of young migrating wolves (loners), after they leave the pack, resembles PP behavior. Fourteen loners entering the Netherlands between 2015 and 2019 could be identified and genetically linked to their PPs. Loner and PP behavior was similar in 10 out of 14 cases. Like their PPs, some young wolves killed sheep and were near humans, others killed sheep and did not approach humans, while two loners were unproblematic, they did not kill sheep nor were they in proximity to humans. Thus, the PP behavior did predict loner’s behavior and conflicts may be similar between young wolves and their PPs. However, conflicts need not arise. To achieve that, new prevention methods are proposed to teach wolves in the PP not to approach sheep and humans. As a result, new generations may not be problematic when leaving the PP.