Wolves born last year in Oslo’s eastern forest (Østmarka) must now fend for themselves, after their mother was shot by a hunter and, last week, their father was found sick and dying by school children in Enebakk, southeast of the city.
Conservationists were encouraged when a pair of once nearly extinct wolves found their way to Østmarka a few years ago and later began to reproduce. Some have since moved on but the lead male remained, only to be found seriously ill with scabies last week. With half of his fur gone and the animal clearly suffering, wildlife authorities shot the wolf last Tuesday.
News bureau NTB reported during the weekend that DNA tests have since shown that he was the father of several wolves born to a female wolf who was shot by a hunter near Losby last year. He claims he shot in self-defense after he and his dog were threatened by the wolf, and no charges have been filed against him. Wolves are a protected species under Norwegian law.
Authorities believe the wolf pair’s offspring are old enough to survive on their own, but will monitor their progress through a surveillance system that involves motion-sensitive cameras set up around Østmarka. While ranchers oppose protection of the fledgling wolf population in Norway, Oslo residents have generally welcomed their reappearance and both hikers, cyclists and skiers have told local media they don’t feel threatened.