Not A Great Idea
Court rejects plan by Dutch national park to control wolf population with paintballs
A Dutch court on Wednesday dismissed a plan from local authorities to pelt wolves with paintball guns in order to control their population, The Associated Press reported.
The province of Gelderland had previously issued a mandate allowing officials at Hoge Veluwe National Park to shoot wolves that had gotten too comfortable around populated areas of the park. However, the plan was met with scathing criticism by the wildlife advocacy group Fauna Protection, which argued that the wolves were protected under the law and that no research had been done as to whether they could be seriously injured by paintballs.
The Central Netherlands District Court agreed, writing in a statement, "The province of Gelderland may not continue to deter wolves with paintball guns for the time being ... the necessity of the measure has not been sufficiently substantiated," per Agence France-Presse.
The court went on to say that paintballs, which were typically only used by humans for recreation, were an "experimental tool."
"It's unclear if the paint bullets will injure the wolf and if a paint mark will cause him to be ostracised by his pack," the court added, suggesting instead that the park designate specially protected areas for the wolves.
The court's decision is the latest in a long saga for Dutch wolves. Though the Netherlands was once filled with wolf packs, hunters drove the animal close to extinction nearly 200 years ago. However, amid ongoing conservation efforts, the Netherlands reintroduced its first resident wolf population in 2019.