Denmark is to tag its first wild wolf pack in 200 years with GPS trackers, in order to keep tabs on the wolves and protect them from hunters.
The government has given Aarhus University permission to tag ten wolves in a catch-and-release scheme, as it is not clear whether some have crossed into Germany, the DR public broadcaster reports.
Danes thought their last wolves had died out in the early 19th century, until one was spotted in Jutland six years ago. The female later mated, and Denmark announced last year that it now has a fully-fledged pack. Copenhagen University's wolf programme, which was set up to monitor the pack, believes the first pair moved to Denmark from the forests of eastern Germany.
But the reasons for the tagging are not purely scientific. Environment Jakob Ellemann-Jensen acknowledged that farmers in Jutland are concerned that the wolves are varying their standard diet of deer with the occasional sheep.
"The arrival of wolves in Denmark has prompted considerable public concern, and I understand that," he said, adding that tagging will help scientists learn more about the wolves and "hopefully make Danes feel safer," the Dagens news site reports.
This comes after a member of the public was filmed shooting a wolf dead in May, in a case that caused nationwide outrage.
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Peter Sunde of Aarhus University told DR that tagging will help scientists spot any signs of rogue behaviour among the wolves.
He also assured the public that malicious hunters will not be able to use the programme to track the animals down, as details of the wolves' movements will only be made public after a one-month delay.
Reporting by Martin Morgan
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