The Salangen pack
Salangsflokken consists of three wolves, one male and two females. They are called Steinulv, Luna and Ylva, and all three were born May 10, 2008. These are offspring of the alpha pair in the wild flokk, Nanok and Gaida.
Salangsflokken is the first wolf pack in North Norway that is socialised to humans.
You have the opportunity to meet personally wolves on the inside of the enclosure at WolfVisit.
The Wild Pack
Our “Wild Pack” consists of two wolves Alfa couple Nanok (born 2000 in Polar Park) and Gaida (born 2004 in Riga, Latvia). Although these wolves are born in captivity, they are not socialized and are wary of humans in nature.
The best time to see these two are the feeding rounds or through a special guided tour where they come from the forest in the large area of their enclosure to get snacks from our guides.
Usually the 2 alpha wolves remain happily for themselves deeper in the enclosure and can be hard to spot.
If you are patient though and use good time to walk around the perimeter, it is still possible that you will spot them.
The 2010 pack
This pack consists of two wolves, one male named Silmo, and a female named Ilya. These are also the offspring of the alpha pair Nanok and Gaida. Like Salangsflokken these two are socialised and comfortable in our company. Silmo and Ilja are in the same enclosure as the Bears Salt and Pepper.
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 2010.
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.
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.
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.
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