The Big, Bad Wolf

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Dutch provincial officials recently authorized the shooting of paintballs at wolves over concerns that the predatory animals have become “too tame” around humans and could pose a danger to locals, the Guardian reported.

The provincial government of Arnhem in the country’s east made the decision last week following a video on social media showing a wolf casually strolling past a family in the 5,400-hectare (15,800-acre) Hoge Veluwe national park.

While the animal did not attack the family, officials said they are trying to make wolves “frightened of people again.”

The new measure will require park rangers to use paintballs so that they can easily see which ones have been hit. The unorthodox tactic aims to scare the wolves and make sure they stay at least 100 feet away from people.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands-based animal protection association, Faunabescherming, criticized the plan and has accused the park of deliberately feeding the wolves.

The park management has denied the allegations, adding that the wolves’ presence in the area threatens sheep and other animals.

Wolves are generally shy around humans and animal specialists say the behavior in the park is highly unusual. Although the animals are protected, they may be removed or culled if they become a problem.

At the same time, the measure comes as Europe sees a resurgence in wolf populations after many years due to habitat protections and other measures, the BBC reported. A report in June showed that there are at least 20 wolves in the Netherlands.

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