After a 200-year absence, wild wolves return to Denmark

May 9, 2017, 7:40 a.m.
Wolves have returned to Denmark
Photo: PhotocechCZ/Shutterstock

It's been a long time since a wild wolf pack has roamed in Denmark. The last of the country's wolves was killed in 1813. That is, until 2012 when a male wolf made its way back into Denmark. Now, a handful of years later, there are not only several males but finally a female.

In one summer, the she-wolf — named GW675f — made her way across roughly 340 miles of countryside from Germany into Denmark. Her arrival there, joining up with the males in Denmark, means there's an official wild wolf pack in the country. Researchers are hopeful that translates to wolf pups next spring.

But while some are celebrating the return of an apex predator to the area, others are wary. Contentions about wolves run deep wherever they roam.

The Guardian reports: "There have been reports of wolves killing several sheep in the area over winter but the Danish government has already established a wolf management plan with compensation for farmers and funding so livestock farmers can erect wolf-proof fencing. The management plan, drawn up in consultation with game hunters as well as farmers and conservationists, allows for wolves that become 'habituated' and live too close to humans to be controlled. The management plan, drawn up in consultation with game hunters as well as farmers and conservationists, allows for wolves that become “habituated” and live too close to humans to be controlled."

Will the Danes learn to live peacefully with their newly arrived canid neighbors?

"There is a tradition in Denmark of reaching compromises and reaching solutions," Peter Sunde, a senior researcher at Aarhus University, told the Guardian. "Technically, we can relatively easily manage the wolf population but the challenge is the psychology of humans. There are so many feelings and opinions about wolves in Denmark, as everywhere. The wolf debate is very much value-driven rather than related to concrete problems."