Relief and disappointment that the wolf hunt is not stopped
The Nature Conservation Association sees the decision on continued wolf hunt a scandal, WWF Norway is considering an appeal. Minister Vidar Helgesen (Conservatives) is on the other hand pleased that the culling continues.
– The decision from the district court states that we can emphasize a clear area management. This means that we get a predictable management, where the threshold for culling of wolves high inside the wolf zone and low outside. The two relevant wolf packs are largely on the outside, says the Minister for Climate and Environment to NTB.
Helgesen also states that the Oslo District Court can not see that the licensed culling will threaten the survival of the wolf population.
– This is one of the main points of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in this case. The court points out, among other things, that it is natural to see the wolves in Norway as part of the larger southern Scandinavian wolf population, says Helgesen.
On two occasions in recent months, WWF Norway has sued the state represented by the Ministry of Climate and Environment. The organization believes that the Norwegian wolf management is contrary to the Constitution, the Nature Diversity Act and international agreements such as the Bern Convention, and asked the district court to halt the hunting pending the court decision in this regard.
– We are disappointed and believe the verdict wrongly assumes that the population target for wolves can be used as an upper limit for how many wolves we can allow in Norway. – We will now read the verdict thoroughly and will consider appealing, while we hope that the main issue can appear in court as soon as possible, says environmental policy leader in WWF, Ingrid Lomelde.
WWF and the other campaigners believe that the implementation of the ministry’s culling decree will result in irreversible and irreparable damage to the wolf population in Norway.
In total, the Government has granted that 42 wolves can be culled in Norway this winter, which according to WWF, corresponds to 75 per cent of the whole 100 per cent wolf populace. 12 wolves can unite outside the wolf zone in Oslo, Akershus, Hedmark and Østfold, 16 in the two packs in the border area and 14 in other parts of the country.
While the district court has dealt with the lawsuit, the wolf hunt has resumed. Five wolves outside the wolf zone were already shot before the hunt was halted by the district court in November. After the hunt in the wolf zone started on January 1, ten wolves were shot in Hedmark – five from the Osdal pack and as many from the Julussa pack.
– It’s a scandal that the massive culling of wolves is allowed to continue. It paves the way for conflict. We fear that this ruling will escalate an already highly heated and polarized predator debate in Norway, says Silje Ask Lundberg, chairman of the Norwegian Environmental Protection Association (Naturvernforbundet).
The verdict also raises strong reactions in the Socialist Party (SV) and the Green Party (MDG). National spokesperson for MDG, Rasmus Hansson, reiterates the call for Helgesen to come up with a whitepaper regarding what it entails to have a viable population of wolves.
At the same time, the reactions to the ruling are not unexpectedly divided. The farmers’ and forest owner’s organizations are very pleased and believes this is a victory for all who have worked for the wolf settlement in the Parliament to be implemented.
– The court finds that it is not probable that the ministry’s decision on licensed culling of wolves is in conflict with international obligations. – This gives a clear indication of the direction in which the court’s subsequent treatment of WWFs demands will end, says CEO in the Norwegian Forestry Federation, Erik Lahnstein, to NTB.
The Norwegian Farmers Union, points out that the Parliament does not want the wolf zone to evolve into a wolf reservation.
– This is positive, especially for those who live with the wolf close to them, and for the sheep owners who let their animals out to graze. Everyone who lives close to wolves knows what damage they can inflict. – Therefore, it is good that the licensed hunt continues, says board member and responsible for predators in the Norwegian Farmers Union, Einar Frogner.
Facts about wolves in Norway
- Wolves have permanent territories in southern Norway and in the border areas to Sweden. Norwegian wolves are part of a Southern Scandinavian population. There are currently about 90 wolves registered in Norway this winter. 55-57 of them seem to have completely Norwegian habitats.
- The Parliament (Storting) has decreed a limited administrative area where breeding wolves are allowed in Norway (the so called wolf zone). The area comprises parts of Hedmark and Akershus and all of Oslo and Østfold.
- Initially, a licensed culling quota for the 2017/2018 hunting season was adopted for 50 wolves, 26 of these outside the wolf zone. On November 2, 2017, WWF Norway brought a complaint regarding this decision before the courts.
- On November 21, Oslo District Court found that the ministry had made mistakes because it had not assessed whether the hunt outside the wolf zone in regions 4 and 5 (Østfold, Oslo, Akershus and Hedmark) threatened the survival of the population. The hunt that started last autumn was temporarily suspended pending the WWF lawsuit.
- On December 1, the ministry prepared an altered decree to correct the error. It has been issued licences to cull 42 wolves this winter – 12 wolves outside the wolf zone, 16 in the Osdal- and Julussare territories and 14 elsewhere in the country.
- The hunt outside the wolf zone resumed on December 21.After the hunt in the wolf zone started on January 1, ten wolves, five in each of the two packs, have been shot.
- WWF believes the resolutions are invalid. In a new lawsuit dated December 13, they required that the Oslo District Court asked the suspension of hunting in Regions 4 and 5 until the court has dealt with the lawsuit on the legality of the wolf administration.
- The Oslo District Court dealt with the matter just before Christmas. On Friday, January 5, the district court ruled that the request for interim injunction is rejected. The hunt could thus continue.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today