DrSuspicions were confirmed in the Dolly case: the 30-year-old foal of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was killed by a wolf. As genetic analysis has now revealed, the culprit wolf is GW 950m, a member of the notorious wolf pack from Burgdorfer Holes, northeast of the state capital of Lower Saxony.

Reinhard Bingener

Political correspondent for Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Bremen, based in Hanover.

The male GW 950m had already killed some farm animals before Dolly, including sheep, cattle and horses. Dolly the pony was found dead in his paddock in the village of Burgdorfer in Beinhorn at the beginning of September. Another foal, who was also in the paddock, was unhurt in the attack. “The whole family is terribly upset by the news,” said a political statement from the CDU and longtime federal minister von der Leyen. Last week, the EU Commission President from Lower Saxony announced in a letter to members of the European Parliament that the current protection status of wolves would be checked.

The correct way to deal with predators that have returned to Germany has been debated for several years. Many farmers and hunters advocate regulating the population by shooting them, while many conservationists want to counter wolf attacks on farm animals with better preventive measures.

There is also a political struggle in Lower Saxony over the future course of action: during his tenure, former environment minister Olaf Laess (SPD) called for wolf populations to be regulated, in reference to the growing numbers. However, Olaf Leiz has now moved on to head the Economy Ministry and left the Environment Ministry to the staunchest critic of his wolf strategy yet, Christian Meyer of the Greens.

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Faced with the Beinhorn tragedy about Dolly, Meyer’s ministry commented Tuesday that it is important that there be “an open, transparent and ultimately goal-oriented dialogue about wolf management, herd protection, and herding animals.” They want to talk to “all interested associations”.