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Norwegian and Swedish wolves are extinct

Christian Fernsby |
The wolves found in Norway and Sweden are actually Finnish, according to extensive studies done on their genetic makeup.

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Humans wiped out Norway's original wolf population in the wild around 1970.

"The original Norwegian Swedish wolves probably didn't share their genetics with the wolves in Norway and Sweden," says Hans Stenøien, director of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) University Museum.

Stenøien is the first author of a new report that addresses the genetic composition of the Norwegian Swedish wolf population in much greater detail than has been done previously.

"We've carried out the largest genetic study of wolves in the world," says Stenøien.

This is the final part of a large report on the wolf in Norway that the Norwegian Storting (Parliament) commissioned in 2016. But by then the real Norwegian Swedish wolves had been gone for many years.

"Admittedly, some original Norwegian Swedish wolves can still be found in zoos outside Norway. But our wolves today aren't closely related to them," Stenøien notes.

The wolf came to Norway when the ice retreated about 12,000 years ago. But it disappeared from the Norwegian landscape, and probably from Sweden, by about 1970. High hunting pressure and conflicts with agriculture in particular contributed to the animals' decline.

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