November 23, 2012 9:20 am
Naturalists in Berlin celebrate over recent news: farmers spotted a pack of wolves in a village 15 miles south of Berlin for the first time in more than 100 years. The wolves seem to have moved into a deserted former Soviet army military exercise area, the Independent reports.
The wolf pack includes both adults and pups, which the World Wildlife Fund is now excitedly monitoring with infra-red night vision cameras.
Germany’s “last wolf” was reputed to have been shot and killed by hunters in 1904. In 1990, a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the animals were declared a protected species and the population began to grow again. Wolves were sighted in remote areas of eastern Germany after they entered from neighbouring Poland.
Though the wolves are living quite close to the German capital, the area they call home largely consists of uninhabited forest with plenty of dear and wild boar.
“In principle, the whole of Brandenburg is attractive for wolves. Anywhere that a wolf finds peace and quiet and food offers the animals good living conditions,” the WWF commented.
Meanwhile, due north, Norway is singing a different tune. In a meeting Wednesday between the Swedish and Norwegian governments, the latter announced that it planned to cull any wolves that wander into its territory, even if those wolves were born and breed in Sweden. Not everyone in Norway is a wolf hater, The Guardian points out, but unfortunately the dominant political party at the moment is of that persuasion. The Guardian explains:
Politics in Norway tend to be local in character. For people who possess an almost religious aversion to wolves, the persistence of the species is an election issue. But those who like wolves tend to vote as most people do, on issues such as the economy, tax and, perhaps, broader environmental policy.
The Centre party (which is well to the right of centre) currently holds the environment brief in the ruling coalition. It has been chasing the votes of sheep farmers and hunters. It appears to see the wolf – and the international obligations to protect it – as an issue of Norwegian identity: if we want to kill them we damn well will.
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