Walking with wolves

There are wolves here in Norway, and it is an insane controversy. It would have been really funny, if it was not so tragic. Here is the gist: the wolf is red-listed here. That is to say, on a national level. This means it is threatended, on the brink of extinction, there isn’t enough individuals and enough variety in the genetic material to sustain a healthy population. So we should work for a sustainable gene pool, right?

The wolf has been pretty much non-exsistent in Norway since the 60-ish. This means that farmers, primarily sheep farmers, have gotten used to the practice of letting their sheep roam freely in the woods and mountains all summer. Add to this that sheep has been bred to increase meat/wool yield, with little need – and ability – to run away from danger, deal with predators, or have any inate strategies to stay safe.

So now, after years of work, some migrating individuals; the wolf population has been increasing, and bizarrely, the permission to shoot increased. Remember, it is still considered vulnerable and close to extinction here. So in short: the population is slowly rising, and we are killing them at a faster rate than they can reproduce. It is a massive hullabaloo, with fear and lothing on all sides.

I have been wondering for years, if I met a wolf, would I be certain? I mean, if you are out at dusk, and meet a large spitz, would you really know the difference? The “sightings” of wolves around here, I don’t thame them too seriously. I mean. We see what we want to see.

So my friend and me went back to Langedrag, this time with the goal of walking with wolves. To be inside their enclousure, and sit within two meters of them, was exhilarating. Very much in a different way than the lynx. These three wolves are brothers, and though they absolutely bicker, they are – unlike the lynx – a pack. I sensed pretty well, that if they really ganged up, we would be in trouble.

They didn’t though. And we got to admire them. The temptation to grab that fuzzy fur was overwhelming: they are very much familiar, in being dogs. And yet: very much not dogs. Really not. I cannot put my finger on it exactly. They look like dogs, behave like dogs, and both are and are not.

I am pretty sure now, that I meet a wolf out in the forest, I would know.

Have an opinion!