Wolf in the Wincrange area, 11 January 2022; Credit: PB

The Nature and Forest Agency at Luxembourg's Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures has confirmed that there has been a concrete sighting of a wolf in Wincrange area in the north of the Grand Duchy on Tuesday 11 January 2022 at around 10:00.

A driver saw a large dog-like animal and managed to take some photos of it. He immediately sent the photos to the nature agency and after a thorough review of all important identification criteria, the nature management experts were able to clearly confirm the animal as a wolf.

About an hour and a half earlier, around 08:30, a wolf had been sighted near Bourcy in Belgium, about eight kilometres away from the location of the sighting in Wincrange, Luxembourg. It is very likely that it is the same animal.

In the past few months, there had been several indications of the presence of wolves in this area. In May 2021, a dead sheep was found in the Wincrange area, which was very likely to have been killed by a predator. Based on the tear-report by experts from the nature agency, the wolf could not be ruled out at the time but it could not be conclusively confirmed either.

However, on 25 November 2021 near Bourcy in Belgium, there was confirmed evidence of a wolf in a sheep-tear.

These indications suggest that a wolf has settled in this cross-border area.

In Luxembourg, the first reliable evidence of a wolf since 1893 was documented in 2017 in the Holzem-Garnich area and another in 2020 in the Niederanven area. There was also a confirmed evidence near Fouhren in 2018.

All references to the presence of wolves should be reported immediately to the nature agency (email: wolf@anf.etat.lu).

Reports of the presence of wolves are also increasing in the neighbouring countries. In addition to the evidences in Bourcy, wolf pups were seen in the High Fens in Belgium in 2021, so a pack of wolves is living there. In the first week of January, a wolf migrated from the Troyes area to the Belgian border, about 40 kilometres west of Differdange. According to the nature agency, it is therefore only a matter of time before wolves will settle in Luxembourg as well.

The wolf is strictly protected throughout Europe. In the last few years, Luxembourg has already prepared for the possible return of the wolf in order to define the handling of this species from the outset. This is being done by way of the action and management plan for dealing with wolves in Luxembourg, which was created and presented to the public together with actors from agriculture, science, nature conservation, private forest owners and hunting.

Wolves usually avoid direct contact with humans. Encounters between humans and wolves are therefore extremely rare, but not impossible. As a rule, wolves retreat as soon as they notice a human being, but they can also be curious and look at the human being before retreating. In the brochure "Wolves in Luxembourg?", there is information about the wolf and behavioural rules which should be observed in the event of meeting a wolf.

The "Wolf" action plan as well as the brochure on behavioural rules are available free of charge via tel.: 402201-1 as well as in the visitor centres of the nature agency: Mirador in Steinfort, A Wiewesch in Manternach, Ellergronn in Esch-Alzette, Biodiversum in Remerschen and Burfelt near Insenborn. They are also available online at www.emwelt.lu.