Wild animals good for business

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Wild animals in Dutch nature reserves rake in millions for local business. The finding comes in a book by Triple E, an organisation that studies links between economy and ecology.

If there were no deer or wild boar in the wooded Veluwe nature reserve in the east of the Netherlands, the leisure and tourism sector would miss out on 102 million euros a year, according to Triple E’s calculations.

Triple E says there are often complaints about wildlife causing economic damage – wild boar wreaking havoc in farmland and gardens, for example – but as yet there have been no figures available on the economic benefits.

The researchers put together figures from reserve managers, businesses and local councils, and quizzed tourists about their spending. They conclude that the most lucrative Dutch wildlife are the seals in the Wadden Sea, which are good for an annual 312 million euros. Other cash-generating wildlife around the country are otters, beavers, horses and wild cattle.

Wolves However, there’s no beating predators for bringing in the tourist euros. A mere rumour that a puma or lynx had been sighted in the Veluwe in 2002 was enough to draw a stream of visitors, who splashed out 1.3 million euros between them.

On this basis, the wildlife jackpot would be wolves. Wolf packs roam not far over the border in Germany, and given the distances the animals cover it would be no surprise if they managed to set up home in the Netherlands. And Triple E reckons a serious report of a wolf sighting in the Netherlands would generate 1.5 million euros for local business within a matter of days.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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