New study reveals the origin of Sweden’s wolves

Sweden's wolf population isn't related to dogs at all, a new study shows.

New study reveals the origin of Sweden's wolves
Two Scandinavian wolves in the snow. File photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix / TT

Researchers at Uppsala University used new methods to investigate the origin of Sweden's wolf population.

Although Scandinavian wolves are thought to have more or less died out during the 1960s, the animal made a sudden comeback in the Värmland region two decades later.

Ever since then, researchers have attempted to find out the origin of these wolves, and there have been rumours that the wolves alive in Sweden today could actually be a crossbreed between wolf and dog.

But the Uppsala researchers found that the wolves weren't related to dogs at all.

READ ALSO: Swedish wildlife park to put down all its wolves

The new study shows that Sweden's wolf population comes from the country's northern neighbours, and that wolves may have never died out in Sweden at all.

“The research shows that the Scandinavian wolf population has a regional origin. It might be a case of wolves migrating from northern Europe or wolves that simply remained from the same group that at one time was widespread across Scandinavia,” said researcher Hans Ellegren.

Scientists looked at wolves' DNA for the study, looking at the Y chromosome which is passed from father to son, and were thus able to follow the paternal line far back in time.


wolf – varg

dog – hund

decade – årtionde

origin – ursprung

widespread – utbredd

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Reader’s story: How I slowly fell in love with the Swedish language

What makes a person want to learn Swedish? The Local's reader Sunny Das tries to answer a question that's bigger than quantifiable goals.

Reader's story: How I slowly fell in love with the Swedish language

It was a dark and cold October day as I found myself standing outside Arlanda Airport.

It had been a long journey from Singapore to Stockholm in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The first thing I noticed was that most of the pandemic restrictions that applied to people in the rest of the world were not as strict in Sweden. I looked like a real stranger with my face mask on.

But, somewhere in my heart something stirred, and my soul felt a little joy after seeing some form of normality. The taxi driver said something that sounded like “hey” in English, and so I responded in English. Then we started driving towards the centre of Stockholm.

Within 45 minutes, I was in Gamla Stan, and it was already evening. I was tired, but I won’t forget what I felt when I saw the beauty of the city. When the lights sparkled on the water, it was like poetry composing itself.

In the hotel lobby, I heard Swedish being spoken among people, and it was like music to my ears. It had been a long time since I learned a new language, but there was something melodic in the Swedish language that truly captivated me from the beginning.

This article was written by The Local’s reader Sunny Das. Photo: Private

Because there is freedom in Swedish society, it is easy to fall in love with something.

None of the Swedes I met said that I had to learn Swedish to survive in Sweden. As a result, I explored the language in my own way, and slowly fell in love with it.

Of course, attitudes towards language requirements have changed nowadays, but I’m grateful that it wasn’t like that when I started learning Swedish. It could have been very demotivating for me if someone had tried to force the language on me.

Instead, I had the opportunity to enjoy Swedish music, books and the culture in general. There was a song that inspired me to develop my Swedish and delve deeper into my language journey. The song was called Vem tänder stjärnorna by Eva Dahlgren (“Who lights the stars?”). What a beautiful song, just amazing. Evighet (eternity) is my favourite word in Swedish, which I learned from that song.

What is my goal with the Swedish language? A really good question.

But is there a goal in just watching the sunset with your dog on the beach? Or to dim the lights at three in the morning, closing your eyes and listening to “The Midnight” or “The Paper Kites”? Is there a goal when you share “Dad jokes” with your friends on a taco Friday night?

Many people learn French, Japanese or Italian to experience the culture and follow their hearts. I can say that there is no quantifiable goal but to enjoy the language journey, and sometime in the future, I can articulate my thoughts properly in a proper way in the Swedish language.

Yes, indeed, I’m still learning Swedish. There are certain situations when I can’t understand anything or find the right words from my limited vocabulary to explain something. But I’m trying, like many of us who are learning Swedish and love the language.

My grammar is wrong in various ways, and my pronunciation is flawed, and there have been several occasions when Swedish speakers have switched to English, perhaps out of sympathy or sometimes with a bit of a rude attitude.

I can only ask everyone who speaks Swedish not to discourage us but rather to help us learn this beautiful language instead.

Indian by origin, Sunny Das moved to Sweden in October 2020 and works as a software developer. The article was originally published in Swedish and translated to English by The Local. Would you like to share your Swedish story with The Local? Email our editorial team at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you if it’s something we’re able to publish.