New statistics from Rovdata, which tracks Norway’s wolf population, indicate there are now between 84 and 91 wolves in the country and roaming back and forth over the Norwegian-Swedish border. Nearly 40 are registered as roaming only in Norway, and they seem to be attacking fewer free-grazing sheep.
“Our field work has given us a better overview of the wolves and wolf packs,” Jonas Kindberg, leader of Rovdata, told news bureau NTB. “Our surveillance is continuing (through March 31) and we’ll have a conclusive overview by June 1.” Given the 80-84 wolves registered last winter, it appears the wolf population has stabilized.
Eight of the wolves registered earlier this winter have since been shot after they were found outside Norway’s established wolf zones. A new litter of wolves has been found in Aurskog around Akershus and a wolf has also been spotted in Østmarka, the forest bordering Oslo’s east side.
Other new statistics confirm that wolves are responsible for far fewer attacks on sheep (11 percent) than wolverines (33 percent), lynx (21 percent) and bears (15 percent). Eagles also were deemed responsible for killing more lambs last year (1,400) than wolves (1,236).
Ranchers who are on a campaign to dramatically reduce Norway’s wolf population discount the statistics, though. They claim the reduction is only because fewer Norwegian farmers and ranchers are raising sheep. Per Skorge, secretary general of the Norwegian national farmers union (Norges Bondelag) claims the country’s “wolf plague is worse than ever.”