Dag O. Hessen

Tracking the Wolverine


One day in February 1972, Dag O. Hessen is on a ski trip with his father in the mountains when they come across a wolverine track in the snow. The young Dag convinces his father to follow the trail, but after half an hour of searching the imprints of the predator disappear down a steep passage and they have to give up on their hunt. 50 years later he’s back at the same place to pick up on the trail of the animal that escaped him. His father is now long gone, but the mountains are still there and somewhere out there is a wolverine.

Tracking the Wolverine is Hessen’s most personal book so far. It’s a portrait of Norwegian nature’s most fascinating and shy animal, so compact in its wildness and power that there is hardly anything like it. Seeing the animal in its natural habitat is a rarity only very few people get to experience. The wolverine, and the desire to meet the wild animal, is the framing of the story taking place in the mountainous nature. But this is also a story about time passing and changes we cannot prevent: A childhood long gone, close family members who have passed, the wild nature and a natural diversity which is about to weather away. And at the bottom of all of this lies a deep affection and respect for nature and biology, presented by one of Norway’s most respected non-fiction authors.


“Hessen, the poet, rises to his full height. He is our Thoreau, anno 2023.”

Vårt land

“It would surprise me if [this book] isn’t at the top when the score is settled for this year’s best non-fiction titles. … The book deserves a spot alongside the author’s own favorites on the cabin bookshelves: Zappfe, Thoreau and Ingstad.”

Dag o hessen av foto anne valeur (1)
Photo: Anne Valeur

Dag O. Hessen (b. 1956) is a Professor of Biology at the University of Oslo. He is a distinct voice in the debate on topics like evolution, climate, ecology and biology as a way of understanding humanity. He has written many scientific works on themes like ecology and evolution, and has also published a number of popular science books about evolution, biology and the environment. He has received several awards for his promotion of popular science.