The wolf pack that has settled in Oslo’s eastern forest area known as Østmarka was being blamed for the deaths this weekend of at least 18 sheep in Ytre Enebakk, on the forest’s southeast side. The bloody remains were found by sheep rancher Karianne Buer when she walked her dog Sunday morning.
“All the sheep were bit or gashed in their throats or udders,” Buer told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We have had a visit from the wolves during the night. I’m certain of that.”
Arne Fosse of the local wildlife agency Viltnemda in Enebakk said he had found traces of wolf tracks, “both large and small,” so he and his colleagues were “reasonably certain” of a wolf attack. Only two of Buer’s 36 sheep were found uninjured. Three injured lambs survived the attack but would probably need to be put down, while 13 grazing sheep and lambs were missing.
“It’s just awful to have to go searching for dead sheep,” Buer told NRK. The attack occurred around Kjepperud Farm in Ytre Enebakk, which borders on Østmarka, where a wolf pair settled a few years ago.
They since had a litter of pups who have grown up in the area, the first time in decades that wolves have established themselves so close to the Norwegian capital. They’ve mostly been welcomed by environmentalists and Oslo residents, even those who frequently use Østmarka as a recreational area, but not by the sheep ranchers in the Enebakk area who immediately felt threatened. When the female wolf could no longer be accounted for last winter, researchers suspected illegal wolf hunting. Her mate and their pups continue to roam the area.
Now Buer hopes some of her sheep escaped uninjured and are hiding in the forest. “But it’s a large (grazing) area and lots of forest,” she said. “When wolves have attacked, it’s common that they (the sheep) spread out.”