No easy and humane ways to control wolf proliferation in Europe, Source: Depositphotos

Dutch province to deter wolves with paintball guns

Dutch province to deter wolves with paintball guns

Gelderland park rangers can pellet the wild predators away after the court ruled this to be the most humane of methods

A district court in the Netherlands has ruled that the park rangers in the De Hoge Veluwe National Park can use paintball guns to scare off wolves and deter the animals from developing harmful behaviour. The park is located in the province of Gelderland in the east of the country and the decision applies to the province as well.

Initially, last September, the same court had banned the usage of paintball pellets as a method of wildlife control, but it now reversed its decision citing the need to study this method and whether there were alternatives to it given that animal rights organizations were protesting it.

Best way to scare off wolves?

For the decision to be made, the province had to call in a special wolf behaviour expert who studied the way these predators behaved in the park. His report determined that some wolves exhibit abnormal behaviour, such as the case of a female who allowed photographers and walkers to pass near her without retreating.

It was exactly this seemingly tame behaviour that actually hid the danger of the wolf eventually becoming aggressive and attacking at some point, having been emboldened by human proximity.

The expert also cited positive examples of paintballs being used to deter wolves in Germany and the Yellowstone National Park in the US. Other methods such as shouting or using clapperboards only worked in the short term, while pepper spray risked damaging the wolves’ eyes.

As such, using peppering the wolves with paintball pellets appeared to be the best and most humane option for the animals. If the paintball gun is used correctly and is not aimed at the eyes, it is a safe tool, according to the court. 



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