Fear of the wolf: In Emsland, nobody should go into the forest alone anymore


Families avoid the forest. Walkers arm themselves. Shepherds fear for their animals.

Fear of wolves is part of everyday life in many places in Emsland (Lower Saxony). What does that do to people? A BamS report from the wolf territory.


This sign in Werpeloh (Lower Saxony) just caused a nationwide debate: Is the warning justified?  Or just scaremongering?

This sign in Werpeloh (Lower Saxony) just caused a nationwide debate: Is the warning justified? Or just scaremongering?Photo: Horning

At the youth campground in Werpeloh there is a sign that is currently causing a nationwide sensation: “Caution! Here is a wolf territory! Keep dogs on a leash. lead children by the hand. Only in the group hiking and jogging.”

“Many villagers no longer dare to go into the forest”

How big is the wolf threat really? “So far there have been no attacks on people,” says Werpeloh’s mayor Hermann Kuper (52, CDU). “But many villagers no longer dare to go into the forest.”

The sign hangs in the hunting ground of André Richter (35). He says: “We wanted to warn with that. Wolves keep coming through there.”


Lisa Eikens (33) with daughter Mia (2) and son Ben (4):

Lisa Eikens (33) with daughter Mia (2) and son Ben (4): “Many acquaintances are afraid of the wolf. Not me. He won’t hurt us!”Photo: Horning

Wolves had been exterminated in Germany since the 19th century. But since the end of the Cold War, they have been immigrating again from Eastern Europe. Today there are 157 packs nationwide, 35 of them in Lower Saxony. Nature lovers cheer – many rural residents are concerned.

Wolf videos are circulating online

In 2021, several videos of wolves circulated online in Lower Saxony: One galloped through Lohne during the day, past a Lidl market and a father with his daughter. Another pursued a jogger and her dog near Wietzendorf.


A couple goes for a walk with this equipment: tear gas, hand alarm, blank pistol with magazine and cartridges

A couple goes for a walk with this equipment: tear gas, hand alarm, blank pistol with magazine and cartridgesPhoto: Horning

▶︎On-site appointment in Wippingen. The village became known nationwide in 2021: wolves killed an 800-kilo cow and several deer on the outskirts. The bloody corpses caused horror. Since then, the village kindergarten has stopped going on trips to the forest. There was an anti-wolf demo in town with 600 participants and 250 tractors – but nothing has changed since then.

A Wippingerin, who wants to remain anonymous, had a horror experience a month ago: “I went for a walk with my two dogs at 4 p.m. Suddenly a wolf ran towards us! I screamed, clapped my hands. I panicked, fled to the neighbors, rang the bell. Luckily he let us in.”


This woman was almost attacked by a wolf at the end of 2021 - since then she has carried a golf club with her when she went for a walk

This woman was almost attacked by a wolf at the end of 2021 – since then she has carried a golf club with her when she went for a walkPhoto: Horning

The day changed her life. “Since then, I no longer go for walks alone. I always take my husband with me, pepper spray, a blank gun and a golf club. Sounds funny, but it’s not.”

Eight wolf attacks since 2019

Wippingen’s local boss Martin Hempen (45, CDU) also sees the situation critically: “Anyone who lives on the fourth floor in Berlin or Hamburg can easily be happy when the wolf becomes at home in Germany. But with us he sneaks around the village!”

Shepherd Hans Heymann (57) experienced how this can end in Vrees. His herd has been attacked by wolves eight times since 2019. “They came at night, killed 125 sheep – mostly just left them lying around. Apparently they kill for lust, not hunger. The animals are tattered or disturbed for months. A nightmare.”


Shepherd Hans Heymann (57) with his flock.  He lost 125 sheep to wolves, demands:

Shepherd Hans Heymann (57) with his flock. He lost 125 sheep to wolves, demands: “We have to fight back!”Photo: Horning


Sad sight: Schäfer Heymann put 20 lambs in a hall that were killed by a wolf in the pasture in March 2021

Sad sight: Schäfer Heymann put 20 lambs in a hall that were killed by a wolf in the pasture in March 2021Photo: private

▶︎Wolves are strictly protected – only “problem wolves” may be hunted. Lower Saxony’s Environment Minister Olaf Lies (54, SPD) to BILD am SONNTAG: “Wolves that come too close to people must be killed. This is the only way we can coexist in the long term.” Animal rights activists defame Lies as a “wolf killer”.


Fear of the wolf: In Emsland, nobody should go into the forest alone anymore
Photo: BILD

A dead wolf was found near Uelzen on New Year’s Eve. Was he illegally killed? The uproar was great! But according to experts, the animal was bitten to death. By whom? Not clear.

Wolf dispute also in the south. On Friday, the government of Upper Bavaria allowed: Wolf “GW2425m” should be killed because he tore sheep near the village. But the Bund Naturschutz protests: the wolf is not a danger to humans.

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