There's been another sighting or two in the past month near populated areas with wolves....all 300-odd kilometers north of where I live. Naturally, this is a topic which generates a bit of conversation within German society.
You have the one group which is really thrilled that wolves are now a growing part of our local wildlife. You also have the other group which consists of farmers and parents.....which are a bit concerned over the threat to animals, livestock, and kids.
A decade ago....we had the happy people walking around and talking up Bruno-the-bear, who was going to be the 'good-bear'. Sadly, a month later....Bruno-the-bear turned into the bad-bear, and was hunted down after a five-star circus-like atmosphere occurred with various hunters.
Today, the HR TV folks (my local region of Hessen) came out with a ten-tip deal on how to handle an encounter with wolves.
They wanted you to know right up front.....wolves like privacy and quiet places.....so you should allow them that privilege. I was a bit amused by the wording but this is a German animal expert giving advice.
Number two.....don't feed wolves. It's hard to imagine some idiot doing so, but this is Germany and we have some nutcases who might be that stupid.
Number three....don't act surprised if you turn a corner and there's a wolf. One might use the same logic if you came around the backyard and noted some German neighbor sunbathing in the nude.....just don't act surprised.
Number four.....when you see the wolf.....act cool. I'm not sure if people can be that cool.....most would freak out and start running. Maybe the wolf is stupid enough to think you are playing with him, and he'll chase you a bit.
Number five.....teenage wolves can be scared away with noise. Of course, with 80 million Germans.....the vast number are not that capable of determining how old a wolf is and what might be a sufficient amount of noise.
Number six....if you got your dog with you.....you'd best tend to him first. He might not be as friendly or agreeable about these rules discussed so far.
Number seven....the experts say that if you travel with a dog.....the wolf is automatically prioritizing things, and the dog is target number one. That should leave a few extra minutes for you to figure out who is target number two.
Number eight.....wolves like the target food (sheep, goats, etc). So, don't get the idea that humans are way up on the gourmet food chain.
Number nine....call your local ministry (not religious here) about a wolf being in the area. A email address is given, and a phone number. Naturally, they will ask where and how many. Some wolf expert will probably come up....look for wolf poop, and let everyone know that it's ok.....this is a friendly wolf.
Number ten....the kind words that Hessen has no wolves....at least for right now.
I won't assume that it stays that way. Sooner or later on some back trail that I'm walking....I'll bump into some wolf and have to make some assumptions. That Hansel and Greta storybook episode will come back to me and I'll have to wonder....is this the good-wolf or the bad-wolf?