Latest update 07.01.2019: newest numbers
Wolves in Norway used to be safe in 5% of the country, in so-called wolf zones. Until now, as the Norwegian government decided to kill an entire wolf pack in a wolf protection zone close. This zone is close to the Swedish border. We share the message of NOAH, to raise awareness on this unprecedented decision.
Please also read: Why is Norway killing wolves?
Killing inside protection zone
By the end of 2018, there were six wolf packs in Norway and an additional five in the Swedish-Norwegian border region. The Norwegian government has taken the decision that one of the these wolf packs must go. This means that hunters will open the hunt on the entire wolf pack, on January 1st 2019. According to the Environmental Agency of Norway, these wolves are not ‘genetically valuable’ to protect. The wolves did not originate from other populations, neither are they descendants from other populations.
Update 07.01.2019: Hunters killed the alpha female and male of the wolf pack during the first days of the 2019 hunting season.
It is the first time that people will kill an entire wolf pack within a wolf protection zone. Furthermore, it demonstrates again the unwillingness of Norway to support conservation efforts to protect the struggling Scandinavian wolf population.
The Norwegian Minister of Environment allows the killing to limit conflicts between people. Yet, international examples show that allowing culling does not increase acceptance towards wolves, but has opposite effects. Nevertheless, the Minister considers grazing, hunting, and human feelings as arguments why killing wolves is legal. Interestingly, the majority of Norwegians welcomes the wolf, and does not want them gone.
Getting rid of the wolf family will not help to solve the conflicts referred to in the decision, but only postpone tackling them in an effective manner. NOAH sees the decision as an attempt to satisfy those who wish to keep the wolf population in Norway as low as possible.
The wolf zone makes up only 5% of Norway’s territory. The government policy prohibits wolves from roaming outside this zone. When the government now allows hunting down a wolf family even in this relatively small area, then it is a clear sign to the international community that Norway is not taking the protection of threatened species seriously. By giving a green light to shooting wolves within the wolf zone, the government aims to satisfy those who wish to keep the wolf population in Norway as low as possible. The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats provides no legal ground to reduce the population size of a threatened species for the sole reason that some people do not like the species.
Alarming warnings ignored
While international researchers warn against the alarming reduction of wild animal populations all over the world, Norwegian politicians let economic interests take precedence over the protection of wildlife. The idea of setting an upper limit for the population of a threatened species is absurd in itself. Now that this idea has become the basis of wildlife management in Norway, wild species are destined to remain threatened into an indefinite and uncertain future, with no hope of improvement. The majority of Norwegians do not align with this kind of policy – they want the parliament and the authorities to take the protection of wildlife seriously. But politicians fail to listen to the people.