It was a dark, gloomy day in February, just after Valentine's Day. If you were up in a jetplane you would not be able to see the earth down there under a thick wet cloud, covering most of the country. What to do? It was tour-day and it was certainly not photo-weather.
There had been much talk lately about the wolf coming back to Denmark after 200 years. A wolf in North Jutland, another one near Ringkøbing and a third wolf, seen in Mid Jutland. I was enthusiastic about getting a photo of this fine animal. The place where it was seen was not far away. So we went out looking for the wolf. There was not much traffic in the territory, no other wolf-watchers!! I looked across the fields and ahead of the roads while we were driving until my eyes hurt. The only living creature was a little black cat, hunting in a snowy field. A little tiger..........
The first Wolf.
In September 2012 a group of birdwatchers were looking for the white-tailed eagle in a nature reserve in Thy, when they suddenly observed a big dog - or was it a wolf? - in a desolate place in the reserve. Kim Frost from Nykøbing (Mors) took a series of photos which seemed convincing. He was sure it was a wolf. Others were of the opinion that it might as well be a big German shepherd, but everyone awaited eagerly more information about the alleged wolf. And the sensation really happened. The famous animal was found dead in the Hanstholm reserve in November, and the examination and DNA-test proved that it was a wolf - and that it came from the German wolf population. This was really a Danish sensation. The wolf had come back to Denmark after 199 years! The last wild Danish wolf was shot in 1813.
photo of wolf in Thy
The second Wolf.
In December 2012 was seen a new wolf in West Jutland by a group of hunters and a police patrol, but they could do nothing but observe the situation, since the wolf is protected. The new observation was just one among many. Several local people reported to have seen a wolf and a lady took a photo from her kitchen window.
photo of second wolf
How the Wolf comes to Denmark.
A zoologist, Mogens Trolle, describes why we now begin to see wolves in the Danish nature. The nature of the young wolves make them spread. When they grow up they leave their parents fo find an area where they can make their own territory. Some wolves walk a very long way, up to 1.500 kilometer - and young wolves come to Denmark to find a good place to settle, which is not occupied beforehand. The wolves have spread west in Germany and live closer and closer to Denmark. During only two generations the wolves have adapted the socalled cultural landscape and replaced their food of red deer with roe deer. The German wolves can easily live in the Danish farm landscape with its multitude of roe deer..
Mogens Trolle does not expect that we shall see pack of wolves in the Danish landscape in the nearest future. Firstly the lone wolf will arrive, but if a male and female meet in Denmark or join close to the border, they will go north together, and then we can get our first wolf couple in Denmark. When they get wolf cubs, it is actually a pack, but a pack of wolves will not walk up here from Germany - the wolves will gradually arrive as individuals, and there is an increasing chance that they then form a family, says Mogens Trolle.
The third Wolf.
Last week ab. 10 february a lady saw a wolf running across the road in front of her car in a forest near Bryrup in Mid Jutland. She was not in doubt that it was a wolf.
So - it was this third wolf we were looking for on this bleak Saturday, driving through the land where the lone wolf was seen, through the dark forests and passing still snow-covered fields. At a place at Torup Lake we saw some tracks which might be wolf tracks but they were not good enough as a proof. Actually the tracks were in a path which goes into a piece of land we know from the summer period, and where almost no one comes in a snowy, frosty winter like this. But the track was not a solid proof.
We did not see the lone wolf. Maybe he saw us.
photo Mid Jutland 16 February 2013: grethe bachmann
photo wolf: 8 March 2008 Djursland.
Sources: Mogens Trolle, wikipedia, Naturstyrelsen, Midtjyllands Avis, local people.
Addition (photo of the third wolf):
The third wolf
photo from robotcamera:
In the days after it showed that the wolf (or maybe there is more than one wolf at Harrild hede) - is too fond of sheep, and there is a problem now which has to be solved. A sheepfarmer has lost 19 sheep - and there is no compensation-rules in Denmark in a situation like this. It has not yet been proved if it is the wolf or dogs gone amok. But it is probably the wolf.