25 sheep killed in ‘Denmark’s biggest’ wolf attack

Around 25 sheep died at a farm in western Jutland on Wednesday in a suspected attack by wolves.

25 sheep killed in 'Denmark’s biggest' wolf attack
A photo of some of the dead sheep, which belonged to the Storålam company. Photo: Privatfoto/Peter Helén/Ritzau Scanpix

Farmer Jørgen Blazejewicz of the Storålam farm near Holstebro, West Jutland, confirmed the attack, as did the Environmental Protection Agency (Miljøstyrelsen, EPA).

DNA tests will be conducted in order to confirm that a wolf killed the animals.

“If this is a wolf attack, it is the largest wolf attack we have seen in Denmark,” EPA advisor Lasse Jensen said.

“An EPA wolf consultant has inspected the attack and we can say with certainty that there was an attack. A series of DNA samples have been taken and these will be sent for analysis to confirm this was indeed a wolf attack,” Jensen said.

In February last year, 21 sheep were killed by wolves in the same area of West Jutland.

Blazejewicz said the new attack carried similarities to the one which occurred last year.

“The bites (on the sheep) are savage, and their throats crushed in some cases. They sheep had not been eaten, so it makes no sense,” Blazejewicz said in the press statement.

The EPA said that fencing keeping wolves away from the sheep may have been inadequate.

“The sheep were, as far as I am aware, released a few days ago in an area enclosed by an inadequately maintained fence. There was thereby relatively easy access for the animal or animals, which may have been wolves,” Jensen said.

“In the same area this month, sheep have been released into three other enclosures without any attacks resulting. These enclosures were maintained regularly. That shows how important it is for fencing to be adequate,” he continued.

Shepherd Peter Helén suggested in comments to local newspaper Jydske Vestkysten that sabotage may have caused the incident.

“There was not much current in the fence, and we found a hole measuring 90 by 90 centimetres,” Helén told the newspaper.

“An idiot made that hole. It was done with pliers. Anyone can see that, so I am scared, because what kind of idiot goes around in the countryside and thinks it’s fun to see sheep get killed?”, he added.

Last year, a total of 28 wolf attacks on domesticated animals were registered in Denmark.

The animal returned to the country during the last decade after not being seen in the wild since the 19th century.

READ ALSO: Denmark to tag wolves in effort to learn more about returning species

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Denmark to tag wolves in effort to learn more about returning species

Researchers in Denmark are to fit wolves with satellite navigation receivers as part of information gathering authorities hope will alleviate the concerns of local residents and farmers.

Denmark to tag wolves in effort to learn more about returning species
Photo: DesignPicsInc/Depositphotos

Aarhus University has been given special permission by the Environmental Protection Agency (Miljøstyrelsen) to fit up to ten wolves with satellite navigation tags until March 2020, Ritzau reports.

The study will seek to improve knowledge of the habits and behaviour of the Danish wolves and how commonly they move close to people.

Wolves returned to wild areas in Denmark earlier this decade after being absent from the Scandinavian country for well over a century.

Tagging the wolves with satellite navigation equipment will also shed light on the size of the current population of the animal, the Ministry of Environment and Food wrote in a press statement.

“I understand why many people feel concerned. Particularly those who live close to the wolves. I would too,” minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen told Ritzau.

“The aim of this study is to find out more about where the wolves go and whether there’s any need to feel nervous.

“We want to find out whether there are wolves that are not instinctively shy of people,” he added.

Although the species is protected in Denmark and may therefore not normally be captured, this is permitted in association with research.

The Wildlife Administration Council (Vildtforvaltningsrådet) at Ellemann-Jensen’s ministry is currently working on new guidelines for regulating the animal in cases where an individual is deemed to be a ‘problem wolf’, in accordance with a new definition released by the ministry earlier this year.

“The government is aware of the challenges the wolves bring. I have already taken the first steps towards more flexible regulation of wolves, taking into account the fact that wolves are now breeding in Denmark again,” the minister said in the press statement.

“I will also discuss the EU’s wolf regulation with other EU countries that are experiencing challenges related to the presence of wolves. It will also be advantageous to know more about Danish wolves’ behaviour here,” he added.

READ ALSO: Danish zoo director advises against wolf 'panic measures'