Decision to shoot 36 wolves goes against Norwegian law
The decision was made during a meeting at Hamar, Norway, of the regional management authorities in region 4 and 5 (Oslo, Akershus, Østfold og Hedmark). Targeting 36 wolves, this means that the three wolf packs in Julussa, Osdalen and Slettås are to be wiped out – in practice up to 24 wolves. In addition, the regional management authorities want to shoot 12 individual wolves living outside the wolf zone.
WWF-Norway is strongly critical of the decision and holds that it goes against Norwegian law.
– The regional management authorities show that they have not learned anything from the debate last winter; they continue to set aside Norwegian law and international conventions. This decision will only contribute to an increased polarization of the debate. It is widely documented that the wolf packs now being targeted do not constitute any damage potential for domesticated or semi-domesticated livestock. This makes it absurd that they should have to pay with their lives, said Nina Jensen in WWF-Norway.
Reasons why the decision goes against Norwegian law
WWF holds that today´s decision made by the regional management authorities goes against Norwegian law because:
- According to the decision, half of the flocks that had litters in 2016 are to be shot. This creates a clear risk that the parliamentary sanctioned population target will not be reached. The decision is thus a clear breech of a parliamentary resolution.
- Neither the regional management authorities nor the secretariat can explain why these wolf packs have to be shot. According to the law, every possible preventive measure has not be tried out first, something which is pointed out by the secretariat. WWF cannot see that this is part of the evaluation, and therefore holds that the decision goes against the law.
- The wolf packs that are to be shot next winter constitute a minimal damage potential for domesticated and semi-domesticated livestock. Therefore, it cannot be argued that their presence will have negative impacts on the established general access to grazing.
WWF considering litigation
The wolf is a critically endangered species in Norway, for many reasons. The wolves are only allowed to establish themselves in a small wolf zone, which constitutes about 5 percent of the total area of Norway. Outside the zone it is more or less not protected by law, and a hunting permit will be granted as soon as a wolf finds itself on the wrong side of the invisible border. In 2016 there were two litters in two packs that live exclusively in Norway. Now half of these are to be shot.
– The wolves in Norway are threatened by amongst other things inbreeding and illegal hunting. In addition we have an extremely low population target which is not based on any scientific knowledge. Now the regional management authorities even want to reduce the wolf population to a level well below this target. It just will not do, said Jensen.
WWF will submit a formal complaint in connection with today´s decision, and will continue the fight for a more decent management of wolves and other carnivore in Norway. The deadline for submitting complaints is in three weeks. Afterwards the regional management authorities will handle these complaints in a meeting August 23, before the issue is sent to the Norwegian Environment Agency for a statement. The final decision will be made by the Ministry of Climate and Environment in fall. WWF will consider taking legal action should the ministry uphold today´s decision.