It is almost Christmas and New Year, and in Norway that means one thing for a specific group of hunters. The wolf-culling season is about to start. Each year, there is a big debate between and amongst environmentalists, politicians and hunters about the cull. Norway is one of the few countries in Europe where hunters can still legally kill wolves. On this controversial topic, the Guardian published its new documentary The Wolf Dividing Norway.
Why does Norway kill its wolves?
The rural communities in Norway struggle with the desertification syndrome. Many young people move towards cities, hoping they will find better jobs there. The young adults that stay behind are the so-called ‘stayers’. They are the working-class, often sharing a passion for traditional hunting. Their opinion on large carnivores is clear: a limited number of lynx, wolverines, and even bears are accepted. But they will never accept wolves.
Many locals see hunting as a form of traditional outdoor recreation. The reason for this is that during the 20th century, all large carnivores except the lynx were absent in Norway. Wildlife populations of ungulates, like deer and moose, flourished. To manage the growing numbers, many rural communities practised hunting as a form of income. This was either directly to serve food on the table, or indirectly to earn money for shooting the quotas. Now, Norways hold populations of lynx, wolverines, brown bears and wolves. The hunters feel their presence as direct threatening competition, while they actually help natural biodiversity.
The Wolf Dividing Norway goes to the heart of the wolf hunting debate, currently splitting political parties, families and communities.
Watch the new documentary from The Guardian now below, or via Youtube (30 min)