Activists trying to protect Norway’s fledgling wolf population have been patrolling Oslo’s eastern forest (Østmarka) with dogs specially trained to sniff out poisoned wolf bait. They fear those opposing the presence of a wolf pair in Østmarka will try to kill them off.
The activists’ fears, reports newspaper Aftenposten, aren’t unfounded. Researchers say that more than 100 wolves have been the victims of illegal hunting in Scandinavia over the past 30 years. Poison has also been laid out to sicken or kill wolves in areas, for example, where ranchers fear for the safety of their freely grazing sheep.
Conflicts between ranchers and conservationists have gone on for years, and news last year that a wolf had been sighted in Østmarka set off protests from those using the area for their sheep. Anne Margrethe Vadder of the wolf advocacy group ARR (Aksjonen Rovviltets Røst) says “we’re fighting against wolf-haters and opponents of wildlife management who take unwarranted liberties.”
They claim opponents of natural predators in Norway should argue their views to politicians and authorities, instead of taking matters into their own hands.