Dead wolf: healthy but days without food

Pathologist Marja Kik (DWHC, Utrecht Veterinary Faculty) reported the initial findings of the post-mortem on the dead wolf: “Interestingly, apart from some tapeworms, the stomach and intestines were completely empty suggesting that the animal had not eaten for around 48 hours.”

In addition, the animal had multiple fractures and haemorrhaging as a result of being hit by a car. There were no signs of an underlying disease or condition that could have increased the chances of the animal being run over; according to Dr Kik, the animal was healthy. DNA testing at the Senckenberg research institute in Germany showed that the wolf, which had been found on the 13th November along the N36 between the Dutch towns of Kloosterhaar and Bergentheim, had come from Brandenburg in Germany.

Post-mortem investigation revealed that the wolf was a juvenile male, likely born in 2015. According to an expert from the Senckenburg Natural History Museum, depending on what they have eaten, the gastrointestinal tract of canids is normally empty, with the exception of a few hairs from their prey, 24-36 (and exceptionally 48) hours after feeding. No hairs were found in the intestines of this animal.

Post-mortem exam was performed by the Dutch Wildlife Health Centre (DWHC) based at the Utrecht University Veterinary Faculty and Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra). Researcher Hugh Jansman of Alterra said: “that this wolf was sighted only a few times over several months suggests that its presence in the region (Salland and possibly the surrounding area near to the Dutch-German border) was hardly noticed.