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What do you do if you spot a wolf in the wild in Denmark?

The Local (news@thelocal.com)
The Local ([email protected])
What do you do if you spot a wolf in the wild in Denmark?
This wolf was photographed in Copenhagen Zoo, but guidelines have been issued if you want to spot one in the Danish wild. File photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

With at least 29 wolves now roaming the Danish wild, authorities have issued guidelines for “wolf tourists” who want to spot the animals in their natural habitat.

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Around 29 wild wolves are currently estimated to be living in Denmark, with the number thought to be growing.

That means it is increasingly possible to find traces of the wolves or observe the animals themselves in natural areas of Denmark, according to the Danish Environmental Agency (Miljøstyrelsen).

Wolves returned to wild areas in Denmark in the early 2010s after being absent from the Scandinavian country for well over a century.

A guide has been produced by Aarhus University’s Danish Centre for Environment and Energy (DCE) outlining how to act responsibly on “wolf safari” in Denmark, or if you encounter a wolf in the wild.

“Wolf tourism” including by photographers is becoming more widespread in parts of the country where the animals can be found, notably in southern, central and western parts of Jutland, according to authorities.

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It is possible for members of the public to look for wolves in the wild, either on their own initiative or as part of an organised group, DCE says in the guidelines.

Expeditions to parts of the wild aimed at spotting a specific species already exist for other animals like beavers, deer, seals and eagles, the centre notes.

But care must be taken not to disturb natural habitats and condition the wild animals to humans.

As such, observation of wolves by humans should go unnoticed by the wolves themselves. That can mean using observation towers or simply listening to the howls of wolves may be the limit of interaction.

Activities that seek to gain the wolves’ attention or cause them to change their behaviour should be avoided.

“It’s positive that people have the opportunity to get a special experience of nature by seeing wolves in the wild,” special consultant Lasse Jensen of the Environmental Agency said in comments to broadcaster DR.

“But at the same time, it’s important that guests of the wild don’t unduly disturb wolves or private land owners with areas inhabited by the wolves,” Jensen added.

Wolf spotters should not come within 800-1,000 metres of the animals in open terrain and should never come closer than 500 metres, according to the guide.

You should also never put down animal feed, leftover food or food scents designed to attract the wolves.

Tracking of the animals outside of established nature trails should be avoided between April and September, the guidelines also state. This is because it can result in wolves becoming able to sense human presence in the areas they normally inhabit, which could change their behaviour.

All contact with wolf cubs should be avoided, the guidelines state. This is because cubs can be less conditioned than adult wolves and therefore less shy. Their natural instincts could therefore be changed permanently by human interaction.

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