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Municipalities tired of court rounds

Polar Park Court RoundsWolf pack in the Polar Park. Polar Park is the northernmost animal park in the world, and is beautifully located in the heart of Salangsdalen Valley in Bardu, 184 km south of Tromsø. Photo: polarpark.no

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Wolf Municipalities fed up with court rounds

Perpetual rounds on wolves in court are enhancing the conflict surrounding predators, The Association of Outfield Communities (USS) believes.

 

“For the USS, it is important that there will be a clear, legally enforceable ruling on questions about the culling of wolves that legitimise political control of the predatory policy. It is unfortunate and conflict-enhancing with annually recurring rounds in the legal system regarding the legality of political decisions, Leader of USS,” Hanne Alstrup Velure states.

The Animal Protection Organisation, NOAH, has brought the Ministry of Climate and Environment to court because of the decision to cull wolves within the Wolf Zone. The organisation believes that the decision is invalid – and has further asked the Bailiff in Oslo to put the foot down for further hunting in the Wolf Zone – until the court has considered whether the decision is valid or not.

Many of the municipalities that are part of the USS are located in the Wolf Zone and have therefore signed up as partisans for the Ministry in the matter.

Two wolves culled

Two wolves in the Slettås pack in Trysil were culled on Tuesday, the same day as the hunt started. It is uncertain whether there are more wolves in the pack, but hunting can be resumed if tracks are discovered. The Ministry has granted permission to cull up to three wolves in total, all of which believed to be members of the pack. NOAH requested the Ministry to await the court’s decision, but the Ministry declined to comply.

It is for the first time the authorities have allowed culling within the Wolf Zone. The reasoning is that the Slettås pack was burdensome to the inhabitants of the area, and the purpose of eradicating the pack is to curb the wolf conflict.

Illegal decision

NOAH maintains that the decision is illegal.

“The decision is very scantly justified,” lawyer Mads Andenæs, who proceeds the case on behalf of NOAH, states.

He believes that the Ministry has based itself too heavily on the parliamentary decision on how large the wolf population should be kept in Norway and not shown that they have considered the requirements in the Constitution, the Nature Diversity Act and the Bern Convention on the Protection of Wild Animals.

Elisabeth Stenwig from the Government Attorney’s Office disagrees.

“The decision is well founded,“ she claims.

Stenwig believes the decisions made by the Ministry doesn’t threaten the stock’s existence and thus doesn’t violate Norwegian legislation or international obligations.

The bailiff in Oslo will on Thursday decide on NOAH’s request for a temporary injunction, which prevents the hunt within the wolf zone from being resumed – pending the court’s assessment of the entire decision.

Andenæs believes it will be interesting to have the court assess whether the decision is valid, even if all the wolves are shot. If not, there will be another round in the courts.

Demands fewer Wolves

While Animal Welfare Organisations believe that the ministry has allowed culling of too many wolves, the Centre Party is of the opinion that there should be shot even more and demand answers from Minister Ola Elvestuen (Liberals).

Elvestuen rejected to eradicate two other wolf packs, the Mangen pack in Akershus/Hedmark and the Hobøl pack in Østfold. The local Predatory Committees wanted the two families to be history as well.

The Norwegian Parliament has set a target for wolves of four to six litters annually, and the Predator Committees have proposed to eradicate three wolf territories within the sanctuaries to reach that target.

“Why does the Minister undermine the Parliament’s adopted objectives by refusing hunting to take place in the Mangen and Hobøl areas?” queries Leader of the Centre Party, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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