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Research article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

Monitoring of wolves in Scandinavia

Liberg, Olof; Aronson, Åke; Sand, Håkan; Wabakken, Petter; Maartmann, Erling; Svensson, Linn; Åkesson, Mikael


The Scandinavian wolf population is jointly monitored by Norwegian and Swedish authorities. Monitoring is made annually. Wolves are classified in different categories. Family groups (>= 3 animals sharing a territory), territorial pairs, other stationary wolves, and vagrants. Also number of reproductions are determined each year, and has the highest priority as national management goals for the wolf population in both countries are expressed as number of reproducing units. Three methods are used in combination. Tracking on snow is the basic method. Around 100 field workers are employed full time or part time to find and follow tracks of wolves during the monitoring season Oct. 1 - Feb 28. The second method is DNA-analysis, mainly based on wolf scats collected during tracking. DNA-analysis help verifying reproductions, identifying newly established pairs, differentiating between neighboring territories and for identifying new immigrants from the Finnish/Russian population. The third method is radio telemetry. 10-20 wolves are equipped with GPS-collars each year, and used for determining of territory extents and differentiating between neighboring territories. All monitoring data are recorded in national databases, and compiled each year in an annual monitoring reports. Annual budget for large carnivore monitoring in the two countries combined in 2011 was approximately 5.8 million Euro, of which approximately 1.5 million was spent on wolves.


wolf; monitoring; Scandinavia; Norway; Sweden; snow tracking; DNA

Published in

Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy
2012, Volume: 23, number: 1, pages: 29-34