How many wolves are there in the Norwegian wild?

Almost 100 wolves are now known to be present in Norway.

How many wolves are there in the Norwegian wild?
Photo: Pexels

Just under 100 wolves have been confirmed as living in habitats in Norway.

Of these, between 34 and 41 cross the border with Sweden, while the majority live in designated “wolf zones” in the south east of the country.

A new status report mapping out the location of wolf populations in the country and in the Swedish border area states that there are now between 86 and 96 such animals in the country, news agency NTB reports.

The report was produced by the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences at the request of Rovdata, an agency which monitors numbers of predators in Norway’s wild.

The animals were counted between October 1st and January 27th, though some mapping work is yet to be completed, NTB writes.

According to the preliminary figures, between 50 and 53 wolves live only in Norway, while between 34 and 41 roam both sides of the Swedish border.

“The vast majority of the wolves are found in counties with wolf zones in southeastern Norway,” Jonas Kindberg, head of Rovdata, told NTB.

“Only three wolves have been detected in Norway outside of these counties,” Kindberg, added.

11 wolves were killed or registered dead during the period covered by the report.

The parliament in Oslo has passed regulation aimed to ensure that wolves must live in a designated region, the ‘wolf zone’, which runs adjacent to the border with Sweden in the counties of Hedmark, Akershus, Oslo and Østfold. Authorities set annual quotas for how many wolves must be shot to regulate the population size.

The Norwegian wolves predominantly feed on elk, which make up 95 percent of their food. But they also hunt deer, reindeer, and smaller animals like hares and birds.

Meanwhile, there are around 300 wolves in Sweden, according to figures from that country’s Environmental Protection Agency.

Stockholm has decided that the Sweden’s wolf population should be no smaller than around 300 individuals.

READ ALSO: Disputed wolf hunt in Norway was legal, court rules

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France’s wolf population rises once again

France's wild wolf population rose again last year, with officials counting 580 adults at winter's end compared with an average of 530 a year ago, France's OFB biodiversity agency said Tuesday.

France's wolf population rises once again
A woman holds an image of a wolf as people take part in a demonstration of several wildlife conservation associations, to protest against the hunting of wolves. AFP

The government has been allowing grey wolves to multiply despite fierce resistance from livestock owners, who say they are suffering from increased attacks on their flocks.

But this winter's increase was slower than the 23 percent jump seen the previous year, and “survival rates declined,” the OFB said, adding that the causes remained unknown.

Wolves were hunted to extinction in France by the 1930s, but gradually started reappearing in the 1990s as populations spread across the Alps from Italy.

Their numbers have grown rapidly in recent years, prompting authorities to allow annual culls to keep their numbers in check, though the predator remains a protected species.

READ ALSO: Where in France will you find wolves?

Under a “Wolf Plan” adopted in 2018, the “viability threshold” of 500 animals, the level at which the population is likely to avoid becoming at risk of extinction over a 100-year period, was not expected to be reached until 2023.

Wolves are increasingly spotted across French territory, from the Pyrenees mountains as far north as the Atlantic coastal regions near Dieppe.

But “there are still no packs formed outside the Alps and Jura,” the heavily forested region near the Swiss border, the agency said.

The numbers are far below those found in Italy, Romania or Poland, but they have nonetheless infuriated French farmers who say the wolves are decimating their flocks.

Last year, authorities registered 3,741 wolf attacks that led to the deaths of nearly 12,500 animals, mainly sheep.

The government offers compensation for the losses and has set up a range of measures to protect flocks, including patrols by “wolf brigades” in areas where traditional anti-wolf measures, such as dogs, fenced-off areas and 
additional shepherding, have failed.

That has not been enough to assuage the powerful FNSEA agriculture lobby and other groups, which say they have to wait too long for compensation payments in the face of repeated attacks on their livelihood.