European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen voiced support for the killing of European wolves during a visit to Germany. (EPA/UWE ANSPRACH)


EC chief von der Leyen backs wolf-hunting after her pony’s death


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen voiced support for the killing of European wolves during her latest visit to Germany.

While currently protected under European Union environmental laws, the species has taken flak from von der Leyen after her prize pony was mauled to death by a wolf in 2022.

Speaking to local politicians in Bavaria, she said EU legal protection for the animals should be lifted in areas where they are not now deemed to be under threat.

“If the species is no longer endangered in certain regions, we have to deal with the wolf differently and hunt it, for example,” she said.

Von der Leyen asked governments across Europe to provide the EC with data regarding wolf populations so that Brussels can make “informed judgements” on how best to amend the bloc’s protection rules.

The EC has since confirmed that a review of wolf conservation in Germany is underway.

Von der Leyen’s comments serve as the latest chapter in what many see as one of the EU’s strangest vendetta stories.

One autumn morning in 2022, the von der Leyen family woke up at their homestead in Germany’s Lower Saxony region to find “Dolly”, the Commissioner’s favourite pony, lying dead in her paddock.

DNA analysis pointed towards the culprit of the attack being “GW950m”, a wolf that had already developed a reputation for killing livestock in the region.

Even before Dolly’s violent death, GW950m had been destined for the firing squad. However, the rogue canine was pardoned thanks to nature conservation rules.

Dolly’s killing was followed by von der Leyen taking swift action on the wolf “menace”, writing to MEPs in the weeks after the pony’s death to advocate for wildlife protection to be eased.

“There have been numerous reports of wolf attacks on animals and of increased risk to local people,” she told fellow Christian Democrat politicians.

Local media had a field day with the feud, with Politico even launching the website, which tracked her targeting of the species as well as the fate of the wolf responsible for Dolly’s death.

According to Politico, GW950m’s previous death sentence was reinstated shortly after Dolly’s killing, although by whom and for what reasons remain unclear.

That has reportedly now expired, with the wolf seeming to have once again dodged the bullet.