Norway plans to kill half of its wolf population

Update 1. January 2020 – We were just informed that the Ministry of Climate and the Environment of Norway has upheld the decision on the shooting of the wolf pack Letjenna in the wolf zone, altogether six animals.

On the first day of the hunt, four animals have been killed – the breeding pair and two of their offspring – young wolves of one-year old.

The other two packs – Mangen and Rømskog – will be spared. The reasoning behind the shooting is alleviating conflict around wolf management in Norway. The Ministry argues that because the population target for wolves – which is 4-6 reproductions per year – set by the Parliament has been met, it is necessary to revert to shooting of reproductive families to keep the population at the target level. They state that otherwise the level of conflict in the society would increase to an unacceptable level. 

This contradicts all scientific evidence and even the statement by the EU.

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.

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 http://villmarksfotografen.com

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

  • Lars Karlsen. I’m not going to argue with you. It’s clear that you and your friends have discussed this and know more than what science and common sense tells us, but let me tell you one thing: You’re lucky to have thousands of people comming to your birthday. There are more than 68 000 scientist in Norway and even more students working hard to get their degree…

  • The Nordlandsbanen train is the biggest killer of reindeer in Northern Norway.Why isn’t this issue being addressed.Don’t use wolves as a scapegoat.Wolves have a right to exist.What gives humans pre-emptive rights?Selfish greed apparently.

  • Lars Karlsen, wolves are no different to humans, they need other members, food & most importantly space. Our conflict is obvious – we took over the land as all civilisations grew, now 7.7 billion humans & we can enforce our right on the planet to say what deserves to live on our lands and what doesn’t. Biodiversity is disappearing – extinction is happening & it will lead to our own demise. Our land use is just about making money, whether it’s agriculture/livestock, resource exploitation, human infrastructure or settlements. You cannot blame wolves for decrease of species like elk, reindeer or deer. It’s us that need to change – wolf just being a wolf, it’s fact they will restore biodiversity. When we kill an animal we take the body out of the environment and all of its nutrients. Wolves will provide food for other carnivores and restores much needed minerals to the plants and forest. It’s the livestock that’s not natural, the crops, the houses and roads.

  • 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!

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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!

  • 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. 🙁

  • 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 environment.no 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): https://vimeo.com/278287462

  • 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….

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • Lars Karlsen i wrong in what he is saying. Norwegian is lacking a balanse in its øko system..as 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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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