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By Christian Wl
Since the first wolf of recent times was documented in Denmark in late 2012, there has been much speculation about the number of wolves and whether any cubs have been born.
Well, it’s official now. Denmark has its first pack. DNA from two faeces samples now confirms that a female wolf has indeed settled in west Jutland, and if she doesn’t already have cubs, it’s only a matter of time before she will.
Further evidence that the female has found a mate has been provided in the form of videos that show two wolves moving about together.
“Of course, nothing is certain, but we expect that they will have cubs this year or the next,” Peter Sunde, a senior researchers at the Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University told DR Nyheder.
Should the cubs arrive this year, the female wolf may already be in a den somewhere tending to them, as wolves breed in the beginning of May.
Researchers still don’t know when the female wolf arrived in Denmark, but young wolves tend to leave their packs during spring, when a new litter of cubs arrives. It is believed that she left her pack in Germany last spring and moved over 500 km north to Jutland during last summer.
Sunde said that wolves need time to build up knowledge of local surroundings and ensure that there is a stable source of food before breeding.
The researcher contends that Denmark is a paradise for wolves as there is an excess of deer and large patches of suitable country for them to settle in.
“These two wolves will stay here the rest of their lives,” said Sunde.
“Once they get cubs, they won’t move. Only if the female dies will the male start off somewhere else again.”
Since 2012, at least five different wolves have been identified in Denmark – four males and now this female.
Her DNA profile also reveals she hails from eastern Germany, just about 25 km south of Berlin. It is not yet known where her mate comes from, as DNA of the required quality for analysis has yet to be found.
Should any wolf cubs be born in Denmark this year, they will remain in the den for the first months and begin moving around with their parents somewhere around October.
“Now, it’s just a matter of a few years before we begin to see more wolf packs in Denmark,” said Sunde.
“Even if this pair doesn’t have cubs, we must assume that new females will come. It’s expected that more wolf pairs will establish themselves in Jutland within the next five years.”
If you’ve ever wondered what kind of impact an apex predator can have on an ecosystem, check out the short video below about the effect the reintroduction of wolves had on Yellowstone National Park in the US.