Terrifying footage has emerged of a wolf chasing a cyclist through the Hoge Veluwe national park in the Netherlands.
According to Newsweek (opens in new tab), the incident comes after a series of complaints from park visitors about the unusually tame behaviour of the park’s wildlife.
Hoge Veluwe park contains several popular cycle paths. In the footage, a cyclist is seen riding down a popular path when a wolf leaps from the trees and follows the rider in hot pursuit.
Glenn Lieveld, coordinator of the Hoge Veluwe wolf reporting point suggested that the wolf was most likely showing playful behaviour in response to the riders movement.
Angry local residents in the Hoge Veluwe area as well as local animal associations have accused the park leaders of deliberately taming the wolves and encouraging the threatening behaviour.
Hoge Veluwe park has strongly denied the allegations.
Hanna Pettersson, an expert from the University of York explained to Newsweek that seeing behaviour such as this from wolves is extremely uncommon.
Pettersson said: “Wolves do not normally constitute a danger for people, they tend to withdraw and avoid people when they notice them,”
However, there are some exceptions to this trend.
There have been two cases in Canada and the United States where wolves have killed humans.
In 2005 a 22-year-old man was killed by wolves in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada and in 2010, a 32-year-old woman was killed by wolves while out jogging in Alaska.
In 2019, Sierra Van Der Meer was chased by a grizzly bear in Canada and was forced to put in a “once in a lifetime sprint” to escape the clutches of the terrifying animal.
Pettersson explained that the adaptable nature of wolves will mean that they continue to breed and expand into human dominated areas in years to come.
“Wolves are extremely adaptable to both different habitats and diets, and as long as they have something to eat—be it wild animals, livestock, or garbage—they will keep breeding and expanding into increasingly human-dominated areas,” she added.
“This may increase the risk of them developing unwanted behaviours and adaptations, bringing them closer to humans and human resources.”
Park rangers working in Hoge Veluwe have been encouraged to use paintball guns to scare away the animals from areas where they may come into close contact with humans using the park.
Pettersson explained that in order to prevent similar future incidents, the best approach is to continue to encourage them away from areas of human settlement.
“The best approach is obviously to proactively prevent wolves from approaching human settlements by ensuring good habitat and wild game availability elsewhere, and making it hard for them to access livestock, pets, and garbage,” Pettersson said.
Planning on visiting Hoge Veluwe park for a ride? Check out the best gravel bikes available on the market should you need a quick getaway in the event of a wolf being on your back wheel.