Norway plans to kill half of its wolf population

The Norwegian government continues to keep their wolf populations at the verge of extinction. The Ministry of Climate and Environment gave the license to kill 26 wolves already for this season. Three more wolfpacks are awaiting the decision for their future. If the Ministry allows also killing of these 17 wolves, half of the wolf population will be dead by the start of 2019. The Norwegian organisation NOAH approached European Wilderness Society to support the efforts to stop this. Together with many other organisations, we will urge the Norwegian Prime Minister and Minister of Climate and Environment to reconsider the decision. Support the efforts to avoid this catastrophe.

Please also read: International protest against wolf killing in Norway

Wildlife management asks for killing

In Norway there is a so-called wolf zone, which takes up 5% of the country. In these wolf-zones, legislation should protect wolves better than in the rest of the country. However, the regional wildlife management board now decided that it is better to kill every wolf in there. The board wants to prevent that the wolf-zone becomes a wolf reserve. This raises the question, why?

The Norwegian wolf population shares borders with the Swedish territory. Many wolves wander between the two countries. However, since Sweden reduced the wolf population with 26% since 2014/2015, the Swedish authority banned wolf hunts. It is incomprehensible that the Norwegian authorities continue to take decisions opposite of their neighbouring countries.

Killing is no solution

International examples show that culling of wolves does not increase the tolerance nor acceptance towards wolves among the general public. As many neighbouring countries can prove to Norway, the best way to find a solution to a sustainable coexistence between people and wildlife is the usage of proper livestock protection measures. Just last month, the German province of Lower Saxony published the data showing wolf packs increase by a third, while damages decrease by half. Wolves and other large carnivores bring back a balance to the ecosystems in Europe.

Tommy Solberg

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16 thoughts on “Norway plans to kill half of its wolf population

  1. What kind of fools do these idiots think we are??? ‘Lets reduce numbers to cure inbreeding’. Speak the god damn truth fool! Reducing numbers will NOT cure inbreeding it will cause the death of a species! But that is what idiots like you and the backward Norwegian government want right? To make this species extinct? But they cant come out and say that for fear of losing the public vote, so they go about things in a decietful way. They are criminals! You nor the Norwegian government has any right to cause the eradication of an animal that has lived in such lands for thousands of years! And these cowards hide behind stupid insulting statements like that to push their own vile agenda. Its all driven by greed and you can bet your bottom dollar someone in the Norwegian government is being paid to say the things that a silent majority want them to say. Its disgusting! Norway is a huge nation, with a tiny population! Inbred it seems too! Its the same in the UK. Greedy hunters & farmers are the problem! NOT the Wolf!

  2. Katrin Vels ; Your allegation about culling is taken out of you’re own imagination, i strongly recommend you to get your information what culling means… The only culling taking place in Norway on reindeer population was in Northfjella moutain aerea on behalf on proven CWD Disease. All other hunting is ordinary hunt, taking place in August and September. In the calfing season; March-April they must not be disturbed, they have no area to hide anymore, this is very critical period. In a more natural habitat, with wide open range, where they can splitt up in smaller packs they can be more protected from attacks from wolf and wolverine. But sadly we do not have this wide open areas any more. It is legal to use common sense, and not bring everything to the alter on the predator religion… wolfs and reindeer will give the same effect as the sheep, make no mistake about that…

  3. Darksaga 666 If you increase an inbreed population, you will continue the inbreeding until you stop.. by take out individuals who are very close related, you will decrease inbreed factor over a period of time. Simply because dead induviduals can not reproduce their self… that are forced to reproduce with individuals who is longer distance in relationship trough their self… It`s quite simple, but involve a killing of a wolf, and by then i think you fell off the wagon…

  4. Lars Karlsen, im sorry but this is just pure nonsense! “The best solution is to decrease numbers of wolf, so the inbreed factor gets down” In what universe does that even make sense??? You must INCREASE the population to avoid inbreed, even the most dimwitted person can understand something so obvious! And no there are no scientific evidence to support your claim, because it doesn’t exist and is pure nonsense!

  5. Not quite correct, they are gonna kill half of whats left, they already killed half last winter too, they are just repeating this crime over again. 🙁

  6. It is simply out of touch with reality to say that the presence of the wolf would be a tragedy for the wild reindeer population in the North. It is not the wolf who endangers the wild reindeer populations in northern Norway, but human activities, driven by ignorance and greed. Isn’t it telling that humans now cull the wild reindeer population heavily to prevent overgrazing and food shortages?

    The Norwegian Environment Agency writes at about the wild reindeer:
    Roads, railroads and hydropower reservoirs in combination with other human activities have split up their range, leaving a fragmented habitat for this species. … In several areas, it has been necessary to cull the population heavily to prevent overgrazing and food shortages. … Over the past 20 years, about 5000–10 000 wild reindeer have been culled every year during the hunting season, as shown in the graph belove. In 2016 approximately 6100 wild reindeer was shot during the hunting season.

    It raises the question – why not let the wolf have its share? The wolf has a rightful place in nature, not only because of its importance in keeping the ecosystems healthy, but because of the mere fact that it is a natural part of it. The wolf should be able to live from its natural food base, including the wild reindeer, if that is its choice of food. Human arrogance expressed in the ever-increasing drive to control nature (by keeping the wolf and other predators “out”) will backfire on humans themselves. Predators are keystone species to keep natural ecosystems healthy and damage from the collapse of those ecosystems can be enormous and indeed unpredictable. One example is the Chronic Wasting Disease that was spreading among wild reindeer in Norway in 2017 and resulted in the mass slaughter and eradication of a whole population of up to 2000 animals in Nordfjella.

    Neither is it true that most people in Norway see the wolf as a burden. It is a fraction, a minority of the population who also make the most noise about it. Therefore, it may leave an impression that the wolf is not welcome in Norway. The research shows otherwise – even the people who in eastern parts of Norway who share their living space with the wolves, cherish the presence of these animals. As the researcher Olve Krange from the Norwegian Nature Research Centre (NINA) has said: “How can we say that the positive attitude towards wolves is so strong among people, also in areas where the wolf is their “neighbor”? We can say this because the numbers show it.” Indeed, the research results published by NINA in 2017 show that while 27% of the population did not like the wolf (and its presence) in 2010 (compared to 24% in 2017), then at the same time 58% of the population liked the wolf (and its presence) in 2010 that had increased to 60% in 2017. One of the main conclusions of this research was that undoubtedly there are many who experience the presence of the wolf as burdensome, but it is outright wrong to assume that this experience is shared by all those who have the wolf as their “neighbor”.

    NOAH has made a film of these “silent” voices in areas where people live next to wolves. The film can be watched here (in Norwegian with English subtitles):

  7. Dear Nick Huisman; The science community of nature in Norway is smaler then my guest list of my birthday, so you’re references to get a clear understanding is limited, it`s all depends who you asks.. you will get the reply you wants.. The nature in Norway my be of many concern, but mostly on decreasing free areas, Those people who is positive to an incresement in wolf population, are the people who do not get any consequent either we had a population of wolfs or not. This people ,are the same who like to travel to their mountain cabin in weekends and holidays for leisure and skisport. This activity push population of wild reindeer into smaler and smaler areas, building cabins and infrastructure in this environment destroys the environment for reindeer, in the period of the female giving birth, they must have absolutely undisturbed period to having a success for the calfs. A wolf in middel of this is a guaranty for a carnivore and tragedy for the population of wild reindeer in Norway. To put things in perspective; the free range area we are talking about is no more than a 70 year old man can bicycle trough in 3 hours. A wolf is a long distance dweller, he use max 4 hour on the same distance. and by the way; if you’re science community has not informed you about the reindeer population in Norway; it`s the last population in Europa…it`s been there for thousands of years, in fact.. we followed the reindeer as hunters after the last ice period and after us came the wolfs….

  8. Dear Mr. Karlsen, the European Wilderness Society works closely together with Norwegian scientists, experts, NGOs and Wilderness advocates, which gives us a clear understanding of the current local situation. What people tend to forget is that a wolf will choose to return to an area only if there is enough food available. Even if people think that there is not enough food, a wolf can decide otherwise. Wolf diet analyses show that the wolf is very well capable of living on wildlife. Data from Italy, Germany, Austria, France and more countries all prove the same. And in most cases livestock only attributes to a mere 1 or 2 percent of the total diet. The wildlife composition in Scandinavia might differ from the rest of Europe, but clearly there is enough wildlife available to sustain wolves and wolf packs.
    However, thinking from the wolf’s perspective is a challenge for many of us. After all, the conflict Norway seems to have with wolves is actually a conflict between people. On one side we have those who see the wolf as a pest, like you nicely describe, and want to get rid of them. On the other side we have those who recognise that the wolf plays an important role in our ecosystems, and should be given room to live. If you want to read more about the underlying basis of current ‘human-wildlife’ conflicts, I would suggest to read this post.
    Norway is currently facing a major problem with rural communities who feel ignored, left helpless, and unappreciated by the government and city people. The wolf is just used as excuse to pressure decision makers in the capital, which does not lead to a solution for their actual problems. Read a more detailed post on the underlying issue of Norwegian wolf conflict here: Why is Norway killing wolves?
    Of course you have the right to have your own opinion, and we respect that opinion. However, there is a lot of scientific data that suggests otherwise.

  9. Max A.E. Rossberg Since you are not a Norwegian citizen, i understand that it`s difficult to have clear sigth about local condition, your statement that wolf can feed on deer and wild boar, is total out of vision… Deer is not populated in the whole area of Norway, Western part of the country has solid populations of this species, wild boar is not present at all, unless a smal area connecting to Sweden (Halden-Aremark) Wildboar is a species who are on the”black list” thats means; it`s not welcome into Norwegian nature, i wish wolfs should also be on that list, the wolf is an equal pest like the wild boar.

  10. Helga Riekeles; For you’re orientation; In Norway, an observation of Elk will be a sensational, as a chicken with teeth…so i do not make any concern of the population Elk in Norway. And your proclaim about polling 70 % of population whats more wolfs…. well, let`s se if you’re theory holds water, next election…

  11. Hi Helga,
    We concur with your reply. If a developed nation like Germany with much less wild areas than Norway can tolerate almost 1000 wolves with no significant impact, Norway can do the same. But like your famous social scientists Klegil Skoltan said: The fight over the Wolf is not about the wolf but a human – human conflict. It is about the urbanisation putting rural areas in jeopardy. A situation that no politicians at the moment has an answer to. So creating a distraction from these difficult questions is the solution and nothing is better as distraction than the wolf. If we solve the human-human conflict, Norway can easily developed a plan to have 10 times as many wolves feeding on the deer and wild boar.

  12. Lars Karlsen i wrong in what he is saying. Norwegian is lacking a balanse in its øko grass eater lik elk and other natural prey are growing out of control because the lack of big predators. Damaging from elk costs our country 60 millions a year.Scientists proclaim that Norway is in need of ten times more of wolves to make it more healthy and grow out of in -breeding…. and will give the positive influence Norwegian nature is in strong need of. Mr. Karlsen and his saying is the same we hear again and again just in order to get rid of wolves in Norwegian territory . IT is so sad, and so shameful.Remember:70% of population in Norway want wolves in larger amount than we have to day…: 56 wolves…are this minimum amount the richest country on earth can afford..and then killing 24 as some have proclaimed…. thanks to sheep farmers and forest owners …honestly; we are many who on these days are full of shame to be Norwegian!

  13. Dear Lars Karlsen, thank you for sharing your opinions on the matter.

    If Norwegian scientists are aware of the genetic inbreeding depression, then they would also agree that an influx of new genetics would alleviate the situation. Thus, allowing roaming individuals to enter and leave the Scandinavian population. Hunting, being selective or not, will not be able to create a long-term solution. ‘Selective hunting’ will just be used as an excuse to shoot wolves, as hunters will not be able to identify genetically valuable wolves on sight. Using DNA probes from scats to find individuals with high genetic inbreeding is also an unrealistic idea, the resources spent on that could be used much better to protect livestock and reindeer. Because ultimately, reducing numbers of a population creates another genetic bottleneck what will only increase genetic inbreeding over the course of the next generations.

    Just the idea that a wildlife management board requests to the government to kill three complete wolf packs in one of the few areas where wolves are supposed to be able to live, should raise concern. Giving permits to kill wolves that are not considered to be ‘problematic or dangerous wolves’ is not even legally allowed in the rest of Europe, so Norway has a unique position there. However, this does not justify the ongoing killings to keep the Scandinavian wolf population at critical population levels. After all, Norway want more genetic diverse wolves, but kills wandering individuals like V762 that are carrying their genetics to new areas for new genetic mixing.

    On a last note, the breeding ability of wolves is not more unique than any domesticated dog, fox or even golden jackal for that matter. In Germany, the wolf population was able to develop and grow even faster. Wolves do not need to be released somewhere, they are capable to explore for thousands of kilometres by themselves, if people let them. Look for example at the data from Slavc, or the young wolf that recently visited Austria, which came from the French-Italian border.

  14. Since the 1980 the population of wolfs has expanded rapidly, from tree known individuals, there are now more than 450 wolfs in mid part of Sweden and partly in Norway, This shows the fact of the breeding ability of this species.
    And the fact, and all well known scientist of this field in Norway is well award of the problems with inbreed.. so reducing numbers by selective hunting, the health of populations will increase. As i expected, the protectors of wolfs get numb by the tough of shooting an animal, especially an wolf… but it`s mutch better to sitt still an watch it slowly turns in to degenerated individuals… That`s wildlife conserve in theory… not practice..

    And about releasing new individuals into Norwegian forestry by man help from civil breeding facilities…. well.. that`s a criminal act.. And a last notification about numbers…in the area where the wolf has priority, there has been given 12 permits to hunt, although any dead individuals who i discovered ex; run over by car og just died naturally is withdrawn from this given number. As we speak, there is 7 wolfs permit left.

    Outside the area where wolf has no priority permit of 14 wolf has been given, and there is no likelihood that these permit should been valid, since this areas has no population of wolfs..dispite that, i my neighborhood a wolf was shoot fore som days ago, it`s expected that it`s individual V762 who is born in eastern part of Sweeden, and has been present during this summer and has killed more than 50 sheep. There is more than 100 years ago, a wolf has been hunted in this area.. i hope it will bee more then 100 years to the next.

  15. Dear Lars Karlsen, thank you for your comment. Let us not forget that persistent and continuing hunting and poaching of wolves in Scandinavia restricts the possibilities of wolves’ dispersal into and away from this region of Europe. If Norway continues to kill so many wolves in areas where they are in search of new partners and territories, it is no wonder that the human impact resulted in or at least contributed to a situation where genetic depression is threatening the continued existence.
    A hunter will not be able to distinguish a genetically valuable wolf from a less valuable wolf on sight, which makes hunting a very controversial ‘solution’. Continuing to kill wolves will keep the population and thus the genetic variability at critically low levels. There is also scientific evidence showing alternative possibilities, like Åkesson et al., 2016.

  16. The wolf population in Norway and Sweden is very much inbreed, this is without doubt the largest threat this population face in the future. The best solution is to decrease numbers of wolf, so the inbreed factor gets down, Of course, this method means killing wolf by specific and i`ll guess the movement of protecting the wolf as a species, will rotate…. but all scientific evidence show this is the only way to improve the genetic base and to build a wolf population who is healthy and origin.

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Join more 100+ forest experts demanding a radical change in German forestry management.

Sign the Open Letter to the German Federal Minister of Forestry and Agriculture

Open Letter to the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Federal Ministry of
Food and Agriculture
Minister Julia Klöckner
11055 Berlin

Dear Minister Klöckner,

The current situation of the forest in Germany is worrying. It is a forest crisis not only driven by climate change. The current crisis management of the forestry industry is backward-looking and harmful to the forest. The declaration announced at the meeting of ministers in Moritzburg can be described as a `Moritzburg declaration of bankruptcy´. We call on the state forestry industry to, instead of expensive rushed actions, finally carry out an expert analysis of its own work and to involve all stakeholders in this process. What is called for is a consistent departure from plantation forestry and a radical shift towards a management that treats the forest as an ecosystem and no longer as a wood factory.

On 1stAugust 2019, five forestry ministers of CDU and CSU-led states adopted a so-called “master plan” for the forest in Germany, which was affected by heat, bark beetles, fire and drought. As of 2020, the federal government is to make 800 million euros available as a reaction to climate change. This money is to be used to repair the damage caused, reforest the damaged areas and carry out `climate-adapted´ forest conversion – including the use of non-native tree species that have not yet been cultivated in the forest. Research should therefore focus on on tree species suitability and forest plant breeding in the future – keyword: `Climate-adapted forest of the future 2100´.

Remarkably, the damage caused primarily by the extreme drought of 2018 is attributed solely to climate change. Climate change is meeting a forest that is systemically ill due to the planting of non-native tree species, species poverty, monocultures, uniform structure, average low age, mechanical soil compaction, drainage etc. A healthy, resistant forest would look differently! The master plan emphasizes: sustainable, multifunctional and `active´ forest management remains indispensable – and thereby means that its unnatural state cannot be changed. Reference is made to the `carbon storage and substitution effects´ of wood products. The use of wood, e.g. in the construction industry, should be increased and thus the demand for wood should be further fueled – while knowing that the forest in Germany already cannot meet this demand. In fact, forest owners are suffering from poor timber prices due to an oversupply of trunk wood on the world market.

All these demands make clear: the current forestry strategy, which has been practiced for decades, should not change in principle. The concept is simple: cut down trees – plant trees. At best, the `design´ of the future artificial forests consisting of perfectly calculated tree species mixtures, that are believed to survive climate change without damages, can be changed. In all seriousness, the intention is to continue selling the public a so-called `future strategy´ to save the forest. This strategy seamlessly follows the model of a wood factory, that is met with general rejection and must be regarded as a failure in view of the coniferous plantations that are currently collapsing on a large scale. An essential part of the forests that have currently died is exactly the part that was reestablished in 1947 as coniferous monocultures on a much larger area than today. There is only one difference to the situation at the time: considerable amounts of money are to be made available from taxes for forest owners this time.

Climate change is progressing, and this, without a doubt, has massive impacts on all terrestrial ecosystems, including forests. To pretend that the last two years of drought alone caused the disaster is too cheap. On closer inspection, the disaster is also the result of decades of a forestry focused on conifers – in a country that was once naturally dominated by mixed deciduous forests. People do not like to admit that for more than 200 years they have relied on the wrong species of commercial tree (spruce) and have also created artificial, ecologically highly unstable and thus high-risk forest ecosystems. A whole branch of business has become dependent on coniferous wood. And now the German coniferous timber industry is on the verge of bankruptcy.

It would only have been honest and also a sign of political greatness if you and the forestry ministers in Moritzburg had declared: Yes, our forestry industry has made mistakes in the past, and yes, we are ready for a relentless analysis that takes into account not only purely silvicultural, but also forest-ecological aspects. Instead, you have confined yourselves to pre-stamped excuses that are already familiar to everyone and that lack any self-critical reflection.

Clear is: We finally need resting periods for the forest in Germany, which has been exploited for centuries. We need a new, ecologically oriented concept for future forest – not a hectic `forest conversion´, but simply forest development closer towards nature. This gives the forest as an ecosystem the necessary leeway to self-regulate and react to the emerging environmental changes. We need a systemic forest management that is no less profitable than the present one, but must be substantially more stable and resistant to foreseeable environmental changes. The aid for forest owners that all citizens are now required to pay through their taxes is only politically justified in the interest of common good, if the forests of the future that are being promoted by it, do not end up in the next disaster, some of which is produced by the forest management itself.

That is why the signatories request from the the Federal Government, and in particular you, Mrs Klöckner, a master plan worthy of the name:

On disaster areas (mainly in public forests!) reestablishment through natural forest development (ecological succession), among other things with pioneer tree species, is to be brought about. In private forests, ecological succession for reestablishment must be purposefully promoted. Larger bare areas should be planted with a maximum of 400 to 600 large plants of native species per hectare in order to permit ecological succession parallelly.
To promote ecological succession, the areas should no longer be completely and mechanically cleared; as much wood as possible should be left in the stand (to promote optimum soil and germ bed formation, soil moisture storage and natural protection against browsing). In private forests, the abandonment of use in disaster areas should be specifically promoted for ecological reasons and in order to relieve the burden on the timber market.

Regarding the promotion of reestablishment plantings in private forests: priority for native tree species (of regional origin); choose wide planting distances in order to leave enough space for the development of pioneer species. For the forests of the future: Minimize thinning (low-input principle), build up stocks through targeted development towards old thick trees, protect the inner forest climate / promote self-cooling function (should have highest priority due to rapidly progressing climate change!), prohibit heavy machinery, refrain from further road construction and expansion, permit and promote natural self-regulatory development processes in the cultivated forest and on (larger) separate areas in the sense of an compound system; drastically reduce the density of ungulate game (reform of hunting laws).

Like in the field of organic agriculture, which has been established since the 1980s, the crisis of our forests should be the reason today to transform at least two existing forestry-related universities. They should be turned into universities for interdisciplinary forest ecosystem management. This is a contribution not only to the further development of forestry science and silviculture in Germany, but also of global importance! The goal must be to produce wood through largely natural forest production and to start with it here in Germany, the birthplace of forestry.


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