Skip to main content


Dynamic co-management of human-wildlife interactions in the Netherlands

Wild or free-ranging large mammals are returning to the Netherlands on a large scale, and our attitudes toward wild animals are changing dramatically. In the 8-year project WildlifeNL (2023-2030), scientists together with social partners are exploring how people and wild animals can learn to better coexist within the landscape.

WildlifeNL is a research project dedicated to developing new forms of wildlife management. Wild or semi-wild large animals are increasingly common in Dutch landscapes. Existing populations of wild boar and deer are increasing, large grazers are deployed as part of nature management, some species such as beaver and otter have been reintroduced, and yet others, such as the wolf, wildcat and golden jackal are returning to the Netherlands on their own. This development leads to all kinds of tensions between people and animals, which calls for a renewal of wildlife management. In a densely populated country as the Netherlands there are constant encounters between people and wildlife, consciously and more often unconsciously. These encounters are a form of communication between species that is often ignored by current wildlife management due to its emphasis on managing wildlife numbers.

WildlifeNL sees humans as an integral part of nature and recognizes how communication between wildlife and humans co-determines how they interact. From this perspective, we want to develop a new approach to wildlife management that combines the latest insights from social science, philosophy, ecology and technology. Together with stakeholders, we will develop new technologies, governance schemes and communication strategies and test them in Living Labs, with the aim of influencing the behavior of wildlife as well as humans in such a way that a low-conflict coexistence of humans and wildlife becomes possible. In doing so, WildlifeNL contributes to the quest for a nature-inclusive society in which people and wildlife can live together sustainably. WildlifeNL is carried out by a large consortium of researchers and various social partners.

logo nwo losThis website is part of the project WildlifeNL of the research program National Science Agenda, which is (co) funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Photo header:  Ruud Maaskant, PWN