Fewer wolves in Norway, more in Sweden

Bookmark and Share

It’s not easy being a wolf in Norway. While the Scandinavian wolf population has risen, the number of wolves in Norway has declined, probably because of illegal hunting and anti-predator politics.

The Scandinavian wolf population, including those in both Norway and Sweden, rose from between 252 and 291 in the winter of 2010 to between 289 and 325 in the winter of 2011, according to figures from Rovdata, which monitors wolf movements and delivers statistics to authorities.

The numbers are the highest since Norwegian-Swedish wolf registration began in 1978, reported newspaper Dagsavisen. Rovdata’s report, however, shows considerable differences in the wolf population in Norway, where it’s very small by comparison, and declining.

Rovdata registered only between 32 and 34 wolves in Norway last winter, compared to 33 to 39 the winter before. An estimated 22 to 25 were believed to live on both sides of the border, down from 33 to 37 in the winter of 2010.

“This is blamed on politics, not biology,” Petter Wabakken, wolf researcher at the College of Hedmark, told Dagsavisen. Norway has set a ceiling of three wolf litters annually, largely because of constant resistance to wolves from Norway’s powerful farmers’ lobby, and that goal will likely be reached this year.

“That’s within the framework approved by Parliament,” Wabakken told Dagsavisen, “but it’s not a sustainable population.” He said conservationists must rely on Swedish authorities to prevent wolves from dying out in Scandinavia.

Views and News staff