A wolf family with three young has been caught on camera in the Bavarian National Forest Park in southern Germany.
In the land where the Brothers Grimm once filled folk with fear of the Big Bad Wolf, but which the newest science now claims is the single geographic origin of domesticated dogs, our beloved companions, one can only expect the news of the first wild-born litter of wolf cubs to meet with mixed reviews.
The very short video from a nature-trap camera seems to capture both sides of the story as well. Look for two beady eyes behind the bushes from the left, eerily penetrating the dark, before realizing that these are the watchful eyes of mama or papa wolf as a series of darling cubs hustle into the scene to catch up.
The press release on the wolf cubs from the Bavarian environmental agency (pdf, German) helpfully points out that owners of domesticated animals in the area where wolves are known to reside should ensure adequate fencing is installed, and consider the use of dogs to protect their herds.
But farmers organizations support more aggressive measures, and the Bavarian agricultural minister, Helmut Brunner, promptly spoke in favor of relaxing the endangered species protections, even extending to culling wolves if necessary, according to German news Die Welt.
Wolves have been seen in Bavaria since 2006, usually lone wolves passing through. And the German state has had a management plan in place since 2007, which involves the input of all affected parties. In recent years, the efforts to make the environment attractive again to these animals that once roamed the region widely have paid off, with a number of wolves establishing themselves in the area.
But the litter of young wolves captured by the video trap in the Bavarian Forest National Park represent the first wild-born animals of the species in over 150 years. It remains to be seen if the wolves can thrive in their new habitat without threatening the most dangerous species of all, humans.
If the comments at Die Welt are any indicator, the wolves have little chance.