ANOTHER CULL OF THE DWINDLING WOLF POPULATION IN NORWAY
See also the Norwegian Carnivore and Raptor Society website for updates.
The Norwegian wolf population totals 20 individuals (excluding some shared Norwegian-Swedish individuals along the border) and the species is listed as endangered, i.e. high risk of extermination. Through the recent decision by the Directorate for Nature Management five individuals, 25% of the total population will be hunted down in the coming weeks. Once again the neighbouring Sweden government will not be consulted although their wolf population in included in the global and misleading statistics which the Norwegian administration likes to use as a smoke screen: “the total wolf population in Norway and Sweden is approximately 100 individuals” In fact, the whole Scandinavian wolf population, numbering is highly inbred due to the constant shooting of new wolves which come from Finland and Russia. Thus, the population is now extremely vulnerable. If the regular poaching is admitted, in addition to the legal pressure and reduced genetic diversity, the prospects for the Scandinavian wolf population are bleak indeed. It is quite extraordinary that this miniscule population has managed to survive at all.
The losses of livestock that have triggered this latest cull are negligible (47 sheep in southern hunting area, less in the northern, and the total confirmed national loss due to wolf in 2004 was 544 sheep) as is the potential damage. The really major losses are caused by sheep farming practices. Two million sheep are left to fend for themselves in the wilderness for several months each year, resulting in losses of 100.000 sheep caused by all factors other than predators, i.e. 1.100 sheep each day during the grazing season. This itself is not only poor animal husbandry, it is also an animal cruelty problem on a large scale and is officially tolerated by the authorities. This is in stark contrast to the “unacceptable” loss of 544 sheep to wolves nationally/per annum.
It is reprehensible that Norway shows no interest in protecting its wolf population. On the contrary – no efforts are spared to push the remaining tiny population towards the brink of extinction. Notwithstanding that the wolf is not officially a hunted species!
This is not a flattering picture of a nation which was one of the original signatories of the Bern Convention – the international agreement on wildlife and habitat conservation. Together with other environmental matters, such as its stance on whale hunting, Norway’s credibility in this field has reached a depressing low.
The wolf population goal in Norway was decided by the Parliament in summer
It sets an astoundingly low goal of 3 annual breedings inside a tiny area close to the Swedish border:
For all practical purposes it is a goal of extermination. Over the years the politically based management area has steadily been reduced:
It has been nothing else than a long term stepwise effort to rid the country of wolves altogether. It is the result of destitute and primitive attitudes towards the natural environment. And, while the killing has begun again, the population target within the management area has not yet been achieved!
The decision to hunt down one quarter of the Norwegian wolf population is yet another severe blow for the international environmental community.
Røyse, Norway 17.1.2005
Sunday 16. January 2005 the first wolf was shot in Co. Hedmark. It was the alpha female in the Koppang territory. Take a look at the dead animal and the happy hunters here:
This is how Norway is treating individuals of endangered species. The authorities have even arranged for the wolf hunters to keep the skins as a private trophies (previously the skins ended up in scientific collections at zoological museums).
Røyse, Norway 21.1.2005
Today another wolf was killed in in Co. Hedmark. All together 5 wolves can be killed during the licence hunt outside the small wolf zone along the Swedish border. The hunting area in the northern part of Co. Hedmark extends right to the border of the territory of the Gråfjell wolf pack.
This morning a female wolf was shot right at the edge of the hunting area, and it turned out to be the alpha female in the Gråfjell pack. She was probably the most valuable wolf in Norway. Both as a wolf individual and an animal important to science (she had a satellite transmitter around her neck). With this tragic result Norwegian environmental authorities have destroyed 2 out of Norway´s 3 alpha pairs in less than a week. This can end up in destruction of both packs. The hunting in the southern part of Co. Hedmark (after 2 wolves) is partly inside the territory of the last intact wolf pack in our country – the Julussa family. It will not surprise anybody if the alpha female in the remaining pack will be killed as well (as a mistake).
The hunt in the northern area was NOT stopped after the fatal mistake today. The authorities want the third wolf to be killed there – even if it could be member of the protected Gråfjell pack. With this decision it is obvious that this is not management of wolves in Norway, but quite clear a professional extermination process against an endangered species in our country. Everything blessed by the Berne Convention.
The Swedish government has protested against the Norwegian wolf hunt. But with absolulety no reactions from the Norwegian side.
Røyse, Norway 22.1.2005
Today wolf no. 3 was killed in Co. Hedmark (about 13.00 GMT). All together
5 individuals of this endangered species in Norway (the total Norwegian population was about 20 wolves) can be killed during the licence hunt outside the small wolf zone along the Swedish border. The wolf shot during this sunny and cold winter Saturday (with snow covering the landscape) was the alpha male in the Koppang territory – a beautiful animal in its best age. This pair had pups last summer, but the young ones disappeared during the autumn (of unknown reasons – may be killed in the den by locals?). The Koppang territory was the first all-Norwegian area where wolves established and reproduced in later years (earlier there were some packs in the border area between Norway and Sweden). Norwegian environmental authorities have now destroyed this wolf occurrence in Co. Hedmark completely. Last year the Parliament decided that there should be at least 3 wolf packs on Norwegian soil. Now there is only one intact family. Everything blessed by the Bern Convention. What is happening is that Norway has politicians that carry out fauna criminality through their destructive decisions! What do we need red data lists for in this country?
The Swedish government has protested against the Norwegian wolf hunt. But with no reactions from the Norwegian side other than repeating that the culling will have no influence on the population! They would have said that with only one single wolf left in Norway as well!
Røyse, Norway 30.1.2005
Wolf no. 4 was shot yesterday. This was the alpha female in the Hamar/Løten/Åmot/Elverum territory in Co. Hedmark.
Notice that Norway had 4 alpha pairs this winter:
- The Koppang territory in Co. Hedmark (outside the wolf zone). Both the alpha female and the alpha male have been shot during the licence hunt. They had pups last summer, but the young ones disappeared last summer/autumn (killed by locals in the den area?). In other words no pack on the Koppang territory when the snow came in October – just an alpha pair.
- The Graafjell territory in Co. Hedmark. Half of the territory is inside the wolf zone. The authorities wanted to save/protect this family group, but the alpha female was killed “by accident” during the licence hunt (she walked 400 metres inside the Koppang territory – in the hunting area). The alpha male is still alive together with the young ones born last summer (and may be one or two wolves born before 2004). We do not know what will happen with these wolves (losing an alpha individual could end up with destruction of the pack or the male can get a new female coming into the territory -forming a new alpha pair).
- The Julussa territory in Co. Hedmark. The only intact family group inNorway. Both the alpha female and the alpha male are inside the territory with pups from 2004.
- The Hamar/Løten/Åmot/Elverum territory in Co. Hedmark. This was a new pair establishing territory in summer/autumn 2004. But the territory is outside the wolf zone – in an area with quite a lot of sheep. The authorities want to get rid of this pair before they get pups summer 2005.They have been included in the quota of 5 wolves during the licence hunt this winter (ending 15. Febr.). The alpha female was shot yesterday. This means that the hunters have another 2 weeks for killing the alpha male inside this territory.
The 5th wolf that was planned to be “taken out” was a lone animal in Engerdal township in Co. Hedmark – close to Sweden (outside the wolf zone – in a domestic reindeer area – Lapps/southermost Sami people in Norway).They divided into 2 hunting areas of which the 2 Hamar / Løten / Åmot / Elverum wolves was the quota for the southern area. Since they shot the Graafjell alpha female (wrong wolf) the quota on 3 for the northernmost hunting area was filled. This means that the
lone Engerdal wolf so far will stay alive!
In addition to these 4 Norwegian wolf territories we have some territories at the border towards Sweden.
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