Wildlife authorities received three separate reports on Wednesday of a wolf seen in Nittedal, on the eastern side of Oslo’s northern forest known as Nordmarka. Experts told newspaper Aftenposten it’s the time of year when young wolves venture away from their parents, and it’s possible pups born in the city’s eastern Østmarka forests last spring are now finding their own territories.
Wildlife monitoring organization Rovdata has registered five or six wolves in the eastern forest of Oslo called Østmarka. That includes the three or four pups from last year, the first litter born there since the 1800s.
The Nittedal municipal wildlife board (viltnemnda) north of Oslo said it has now received several reports of sightings. “A couple had seen an animal which was much larger than a German Shepherd dog,” board leader Leif Arne Gran told Aftenposten. “It was slender and had a shaggy coat, and it ran along the crash barrier on Highway 4 before it went over into a field.”
Gran said it was then seen by another witness who reported an animal on a clearly determined course, as opposed to the way a dog sniffs and runs around. The animal was then reported to have crossed a river and entered a farmyard at Hakadals Verk. The last observation point was near a track into the northern woods. One of the witnesses showed Gran the animal’s tracks. “They were 11 centimetres,” he said. “I have never seen a dog with such large paw prints.”
More evidence needed
Morten Kjørstad from Rovdata told Aftenposten further investigations were needed to confirm whether it was a wolf that was spotted, including analysis of animal droppings. “It is fully possible that it’s a wolf they saw in Nittedal,” he said. “The wolf pups are born at the end of April and May. Those who were born last year begin wandering out at this time of the year.”
Gran said the wolves would be safe provided they stay on the right side of the Nitelva river. “On the east side of the Nitelva you can take out wolves,” he explained. “When the wolf has come over to the west side of the Nitelva, then it’s in an area where it’s allowed to be. It must really be an enrichment for people who set out in the wild to know that there are probably wolves in the northern forests.”
Wolves have reportedly attacked dogs in the outskirts of Oslo before, with politicians acknowledging there may be conflicts as wolves come closer to the city.