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Wolf

Polar Park has two wolf packs: the "2008 pack" and the "2014 pack". The two packs live in separate enclosures.

2016-04-0308:42 Polar Park

The 2008 pack 

This pack consists of 2 wolves; a male called Steinulv and a female named Luna who were born in 2008 at Polar Park. They are the first wolves in Northern Norway that have been socialised to humans. 
 
The  2014 pack

Born in 2014, these 5 siblings have also been socialised to humans since they were one week old. 
Here at Polar Park you have the opportunity to join our guides inside their enclosure during one of our WolfVisits (please book in advance). 

The pack is led by male Brage and female Marit. The other male is named Peder and the two other females are called Frigg and Frøya. 

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The wolf (Canis lupus) is the largest member of the dog family. It is a social species, that lives in pairs or packs claiming territories 

In Norway we find wolves mainly in the south-eastern part of the country near the border with Sweden. However, individual animals roam very far and can in principle appear anywhere in the country 

In the rest of the world we find wolves in wilderness areas in Europe, Asia and North America. The species status is listed as critically endangered on the Norwegian Red List of species 2015.

Biology

An adult female wolf in Scandinavia weighs on average slightly over 30 kg, and the male 50 kg. The tail is relatively straight and is often hanging downwards. In winter, the colour of the coat is usually grey or greyish yellow, while in the summer it shifts to more greyish yellow and reddish brown. 

Unlike dogs,the wolf's head is strikingly massive and the body seems narrower and more lofty.

WOLF FACTS

Scientific name: Canis lupus 

Spreading: taiga and tundra areas in the northern hemisphere north of ca. 20 degrees 

Appearance: The Norwegian wolf has yellow-grey, often speckled grey back with black guard hairs over the shoulders and tail tip. The belly is light and long legs light grey. 

Length: Body length (without tail) up to 150 cm, tail length approx. 50 cm. 

Weight: Males on average 50 kg, females averaging 30 kg. 

Biology: 4-6 puppies, females Can produce offspring for at least 11 years (?)

Food: Most importantly, moose, but also deer and other mammals, e.g. badgers, beavers, hares, rodents and birds. Sheep, when available. 

Age: Up to 10 years of age in the wild. In Polar Park up to 20 years.  
  

Moose on the menu

The wolf is a specialist in hunting down and capturing larger prey, e.g. moose. In Norway moose is more than 95 percent of the diet of wolves and one pack alone can take more than 100 moose per year on average. 

Other prey are also on the menu. In areas of red deer can they represent a large part of the diet. Wolves also eat small game, such as beaver, badger, hare and grouse, and small rodents. Also sheep, where available.  

Life in packs

The wolf is a social animal, living in separate territories . There is little overlap between territories, which are marked by scent of urine, excrements and pawprints. 

In Norway wolves have terriorities that are typically 500 to 2,000 square kilometers, and the packs that live here can consist from three to about ten individuals who are related. 

The wolves are sexually mature the second winter of their life, when they approach the age of two. In Norway it is usually only the alpha couple that produce offspring. Mating takes place from February to March and pups are born in late April-May, about 63 days later. 

Can wander far

Young wolves usually leave the herd when they are one to two years old, most often in the spring, early summer or fall. They can wander very far from the territory where they were born, and can in principle appear anywhere in Norway. 

Radiolabeling of a female born in Hedmark showed that it walked 1,100 kilometers in distance within one year. It is also known that a Finnish female moved 800 kilometers in a month. 

Population Status 2014 

At present there are around 40-56 wolves in Norway. Of these 24-35 wolves are only living in Norway. The others live on the Swedish-Norwegian border. 

In the winter of 2012-2013 about 30 wolves were located only in Norway, compared to 28 to 32 wolves in the winter before. In the same period the number of wolves that lived on both sides of the border increased from 28-32 to about 50 last winter.

Altogether, these statistics show that the number of wolves in Norway has increased from 56-64 in winter 2011 – 2012 to around 80 in winter 2012 – 2013.

In winter 2015-2016 it was registered 65-68 wolves that were entirely within Norway’s borders, plus a further 25 wolves that loved in both sides of the border between Norway and Sweden. There were therefore 90-93 wolves with complete or partial presence in Norway.

Population goals

The Norwegian government have set a national population target for how many wolf offspring shall be born in Norway each year. The target is distributed over selected administrative regions for predators.

NEW WOLF LITTERS

In 2012 there were wolf litters born in three all-Norwegian packs, as well as five litters in cross-border packs and 30 litters in all-Swedish packs. Therefore was the Norwegian government’s population target for (at least) three annual wolf litters in all-Norwegian packs within the administrative region for wolves achieved for the third year in a row.

From an evaluation of the occurrence of wolf in Norway it is expected that there will be between 2 and 4 litters with wolf puppies in all-Norwegian wolf packs in 2013. Hence it is possible that the Government’s target will be achieved for the fourth year in a row. In 2015 there were wolf litters in 7 all-Norwegian packs, as well as 4 in cross-border packs and 32 litters in all-Swedish packs. Hence the Norwegian government’s target was achieved with good margin.

NEARLY ERADICATED

Wolves were practically eradicated from the Scandinavian peninsular in the 1960s. The current population in Norway and Sweden is of Finnish-Russian origin and established itself in Southern Scandinavia at the start of the 1980s. Through the 1980s there was only one family group and never more than 10 wolves in Scandinavia. In 1991 a new male from the Finnish-Russian population arrived. A new family group was established and the population increased rapidly through the 1990s, with several new establishments and an annual increase in the number of wolves of between 25 to 30 percent.

In more recent times the first wolf litter in Norway was registered in 1997. By 2000 the Scandinavian wolf population was between 70 and 80 animals and continued to grow. Later in the 2000s the population growth rate reduced somewhat, amongst other factors due to sanctioned and unsanctioned killing.

AFFECTED BY INBREEDING

Genetic analyses show that the wolves in Norway and Sweden are badly affected by inbreeding. Up until the end of the 2009 the entire Scandinavian wolf population was descended from only three animals. Data indicates that the low genetic diversity gives effects such as reduced reproduction and lower survival rate of puppies.

On the latest years it has however been registered new immigrants fron the Finnish-Russian population, both to the Norwegian and Swedish areas. Two males have contributed with puppies to the Scandinavian population and in that manner reduced the degree of inbreeding.

For more information refer to

http://www.rovdata.no/Ulv/Bestandsstatus.aspx | Kilde: Rovdata 

 

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