Located about 140 miles inside the arctic circle, Polar Park Arctic Wildlife Center is the most northerly wildlife center on the planet. This is where a resort called the Wolf Lodge is located and where seven of an estimated 30 gray wolves remaining in Norway, still roam free. And you can travel there to meet them.
Wolf Lodge opened in January. It offers visitors a chance to spend time with those wolves, who have become so accustomed to interacting with humans, they seem more like large, playful dogs than shadowy marauders.
For their part, the wolves could certainly use the respite.
Many Norwegians still view the wolves, despite their dramatically diminished numbers, as a threat, so much so that, around 11,000 hunters recently signed up to shoot just 16 of them in a government-approved cull.
Farmers are pushing to have all of them killed, despite the animals being responsible for fewer than 1,500 of the 100,000 sheep lost annually.
Increasingly, Wolf Lodge is looking like the Scandinavian natives’ last call.
While the animals here aren’t quite on their own in the wild, they roam vast enclosures in a rugged setting about an hour north of the town of Narvik, Their interactions with humans may go a long way toward reversing the negative stereotypes often attributed to the animals.
“After people meet our wolves, they leave with a different view,” Stig Sletten of Polar Park recently said.
And it all begins in a room with a beautiful view.
If you know someone who might like this, please click “Share!”