Are there wolves in Ohio

Wolves in Germany: Yes, the animals are dangerous

It is unclear whether a wolf has bitten a person. One thing is clear: the return of the animals harbors risks. The number of wolves must be limited.

It is also said again and again that wolves are shy of people Photo: dpa

It doesn't matter whether it was a wolf or not: It is good that so many people are now talking about the alleged attack by a wolf on a community worker in Steinfeld, Lower Saxony. Because the news reminds us that these predators can be dangerous to humans. We have to discuss this risk now because the species is spreading again in Germany after it was exterminated 150 years ago.

According to the police, the worker in Steinfeld said he was bitten by a wolf on Tuesday. The man was tending the green space at a cemetery, knelt by the fence and put his hand backwards. “Suddenly he realized that she was apparently being held from behind. He looked around and saw a wolf grabbing his hand. Three more wolves in a pack observed the action from a little distance, ”reported the police. The 55-year-old was able to free himself and drive the animals away. The injuries were so minor that he didn't even want to see a doctor, said a police spokesman for the taz.

If the story is true, this would be the first attack by a wolf on humans since the species returned to Germany in 2000. But we don't know that yet. So far there is only one testimony from a single witness. The Ministry of the Environment in Hanover is not expecting the results of the DNA analysis of animal hair samples until next week. Perhaps a dog was also the "culprit". Or is it all just made up?

But one thing is certain: If more than a thousand wolves are soon roaming the country again, it is only a matter of time before a person is injured again. Because wolves are predators. In 2005 a man in Canada died after being attacked by a wolf. In March 2010, wolves in Alaska killed a jogger - and partially ate her. The victim, a teacher, was only 1.47 meters tall, she was running - this could have contributed to the incident, the authorities suspected. The wolf did not have rabies, which has not occurred in Germany for years. And there was no evidence that he was "provoked".

Such incidents are very rare. So far there are only a few hundred wolves in Germany - the probability is particularly low. But since the animals are not allowed to be hunted in this country, their number grows by an average of about a third every year. This also makes it more likely that wolves will injure people - perhaps fatally. And every death of a person is one too many.

The "health cop" of nature

Why should we take this risk? Conservationists answer: Because the wolf was part of nature in Germany until it was driven out. Because he is nature's “health policeman”, he tears down sick deer, for example, and prevents them from infecting others.

The number of wolves is growing. This makes them more likely to hurt people

But the opponents say: Even hunters can shoot sick animals. We have got along well without wolves for generations. If we were to give free rein to all species that once belonged to nature, we would also have to accept that bears live in Berlin's Grunewald, for example. Although the bear is a predator that humans have even less chance against. The European Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive actually stipulates that the brown bear can return - just like the wolf.

Conservationists also argue that many more people would be harmed by dogs or wild boars. But: It is precisely because of this danger that it is forbidden in Germany to let attack dogs run around freely without supervision. Wolves, on the other hand, are wild predators. Wild boars don't even exceptionally kill people to eat them. But at best to defend yourself or your offspring. If you know this and act accordingly, there is no risk of being killed by wild boars.

It is also said again and again that wolves are shy of people. But: Although very few wolves live in Germany so far, the animals have come very close to humans several times. It has been proven that a wolf bit the dog of a walker.

That is why we should limit the number of wolves - and with it the risks.