At least one and possibly three wolves have been tracked and spotted in residential areas around Oslo in recent months, also over the weekend, but no one seems to be panicking. Unlike sheep ranchers in eastern Norway who feel threatened by the protected species, one jogger described his close encounter with a wolf as “exotic.”
Henrik Thune told newspaper Aftenposten on Sunday that he was jogging on a trail on Nesodden, the residential peninsula across the fjord from Oslo where many commuters live, when he suddenly saw a wolf standing in the middle of the trail, staring at him from a distance of no more than 30 meters.
“The wolf stood there for a few seconds even though I had jogged right towards it,” Thune told Aftenposten. “Then it headed into the woods and disappeared. It was an exotic experience.”
Another Nesodden resident, Jens Christian Mitchell, spotted the wolf from his living room window at Hasle on the popular peninsula. He said he even saw the wolf be chased away by a deer.
Researchers following the wolf, which is marked with an electronic tracking device, said it’s young, only a year old, and out on its first long trek. A lack of experience can explain why the wolf was scared off by a deer instead of the other way around, they suggested.
Christian Hillmann of the conservation division for the counties of Oslo and Akershus said it was exciting to follow the young wolf’s movements. The wolf so far has roamed from the forested area of Finnskogen along the border between eastern Norway and Sweden, to areas south of Kongsvinger and then southwest and north again, up along the Nesodden peninsula. Its position was confirmed as being close to the Sunnaas state rehabilitation hospital on Nesodden early Thursday morning.
More sightings in Østmarka
Several wolf observations were also reported in Østmarka, the forested area along Oslo’s east side, during the winter but that’s believed to be another wolf. Website vg.no reported that a wolf also was seen near the residential area of Blystadlia in Rælingen township early Saturday morning. Witnesses said the wolf disappeared in a direction towards the Åmot dam in Østmarka.
It’s possible that wolf is the one responsible for an attack on a dog, an elk hound, that occurred north of the lake known as Lutvann near Oslo’s Lindeberg district in early March. Hillmann said there may, though, be two wolves in Østmark at present.
He said there’s no prospects for trying to shoot any of the wolves, even though they’re roaming near populated areas. “Nesodden is within the zone where the parliament has decided we shall have wolves,” Hillman told Aftenposten. “There’s a very high threshold for justifying the destruction of a wolf in the zone.” The zone includes broad areas of Hedmark and Akershus counties, all of Oslo and Østfold.
Two of the political parties that are part of Norway’s left-center coalition government, the farmer-friendly Center Party and the environmentally minded Socialist Left party (SV) are at odds over the issue of wolves in Norway. The Center Party supports farmers and ranchers who feel threatened by them, while SV champions protection of wolves, which were nearly extinct in Norway until around 20 years ago.
Center Party politicians have long chided SV politicians, claiming they would feel differently about wolves if any entered their own districts. With Nesodden long an SV stronghold, that claim may now be put to the test. So far, however, there’s been no public outcry or calls for protection from the wolves, only of them.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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