Wolf GW2488m near Hannover on 9 September 2021; Credit: Tobias Reimann

Luxembourg's Nature and Forestry Administration have confirmed that an animal seen in the Troine region in the north of Luxembourg (between Wincrange and the Belgian border, west of Clervaux) was indeed a (male) wolf.

The animal was spotted by a woman while walking her three dogs on Sunday 22 January 2023 in the Troine area. She noticed a large dog-like animal at a distance of about 150 metres. The animal fled into a nearby forest, where it forced its way under a barbed wire fence where later a tuft of hair was later found by a dog specially trained for wolf scent which reacted in the way it had been trained.

This specifc wolf was identified as GW2488m and had previously been detected near Hannover (D), Drenthe (NL) and Belgium.

The hairs found were examined at the Senckenberg Institute in Gelnhausen (D), which is the reference laboratory in this area. The results of the laboratory analyses were communicated to the nature management. The following is therefore official:

- The species analysis revealed that the animal that was traveling in the Troine area was clearly a wolf.
- The population analysis revealed that it is a wolf from the Central European population, whose distribution center extends from the Vistula in central Poland to Lower Saxony (D). Animals from this population have also already been detected in Belgium, the Netherlands and Rhineland-Palatinate (also wolf "Lulu" (GW1608m), which was detected near Niederanven in 2020, originates from this population.)
- The gender analysis revealed that it is a male.
- The analysis of the genotype (genetic fingerprint) revealed that it is Wolf GW2488m, which originates from the so-called Rehburger pack near Husum west of Hanover. There, he was genetically detected for the first time on 9 September 2021. On 2 July 2022, he was detected near Drenthe (NL) Netherlands, then since November 2022 several times in Belgium, including a detection near Sélange near the borders to Luxembourg. GW2488m has therefore been staying in the Belgium-Luxembourg border region for several months.

Members of the public are requested to immediately report all possible indications of the presence of wolves for the purpose of monitoring to the nature management (email: wolf@anf.etat.lu).

The role of wolves in the ecosystem

The wolf is strictly protected throughout Europe. It plays an important role in our ecosystems, where as a top predator it can make its contribution to reducing the excessive game densities. In recent years, Luxembourg has already prepared for the possible return of the wolf, in order to redefine how to deal with this animal species. This is done in the action and management plan for dealing with wolves in Luxembourg, which was created together with all stakeholders from agriculture, science, nature conservation, private forest owners and hunting and presented to the public.

Wolves are very shy - rules of behaviour in case of an encounter with a wolf

Wolves generally 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 person, but they can also be curious and take a closer look at the person before retreating. The brochure "Wolves in Luxemburg?" explains, among providing other information about the wolf, rules of conduct that should be followed in the event of an encounter with the wolf:

- Do not run away, this can trigger the hunting instinct.
- Do not move towards the wolf. Always keep an eye on the wolf - eye contact should be avoided.
- Make the wolf aware of you. Call out to him and wave your arms. If the wolf does not retreat immediately, you should move back slowly and maintain a respectful distance.
- If the wolf gets closer, you should call out to him and throw branches, stones or similar at it.
- Never try to lure wolves with food (not even to take photos!).

The "Wolf" action plan as well as the brochure on behavioural rules are available online free-of-charge and available in print from the nature administration from tel: 247-56652, as well as in the visitor centres of the administration: Mirador in Steinfort, A Wiewesch in Manternach, Ellergronn in Esch-Alzette, Biodiversum in Remerschen and Burfelt near Insenborn. It can also be found online at www.emwelt.lu.