Staff | TheLocal.de
Kindergartens in Lower Saxony have cancelled a trip to the forest for their pupils over parents' fears that the children might be attacked by wolves.
“Our children are terribly sad, they were looking forward to the forest weeks so much,” Martina Dahms, head of a kindergarten in Soltau, north of Hanover, told Norddeutsche Rundfunk (NDR).
During the spring and autumn holidays the kindergarten's 60 children were due to spend a total of 14 days in the forest in two “forest weeks” - a tradition that's been going on for 20 years.
But this year parents concerned by reports of wolf sightings in the town's Wacholder Park pushed for the trip to be cancelled.
“People ought to learn to deal with wolves, but wolves have to do the same for people,” Dahms said. “It can't work the way it is at the moment. People feel unsafe.”
State representative Lutz Winkelmann said that he and other members of the Lower Saxony legislature wanted to set up limits to the areas where wolves can roam freely.
People from the Heidekreis district have already sent a petition demanding such measures to state environment minister Stefan Wenzel.
Local farmers have reported that animals have been found bitten to death in their enclosures in recent months.
Local wolf expert Ralf Neumann told NDR that while he understood people's fear of the predators, there was no reason for the kindergartens to cancel their trip.
“Wolves living in the wild who aren't used to people present no danger,” Lower Saxony Hunting Association wolf expert Britta Habbesaid.
“It's true that people will most likely not accept seeing them close up, and then it's up to managers to find a balance between the wild animals and people's feeling of safety.”