WWF-Norway´s Secretary General Nina Jensen reacts strongly to minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen´s plan of changing the Norwegian Biodiversity Act so that wolves and other large predators can be shot – even when they have not caused any concrete damage to livestock.
– This is one of the ugliest examples of Norwegian nature management in modern history, Jensen said.
– It is beyond comprehension that one would change an established law in order to shoot more endangered animals, particularly in a country like Norway, which strives to keep an environmental profile, Jensen said.
– We are also deeply worried about what effect this might have for other vulnerable and endangered species in Norway, if it from now on is possible to repeal the protection of species through hasty amendments and without proper scientific basis, Jensen said.
The suggested change will make it easier to cull wolves
In the end of February the Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen suggested warranting a change in the Biodiversity Act which would make it easier to initiate culling of Norwegian wolves. In practice, this means that regional management authorities could increase the current quota of wolves earmarked for culling – even if the requirement that the wolves have caused damage to livestock is not fulfilled.
Secretary General Nina Jensen has already promised that WWF will take the government to court if this new suggestion leads to more Norwegian wolves being killed. The suggested changes are in line with the suggestion sent out for formal input in early March. This is in violation of official instructions that deadlines for such input should normally be three months and no less than six weeks. In this case, only five days were set aside, including a weekend, for organisations and others to submit their comments.
The Minister´s suggestion has to be treated by Parliament before the regional management authorities can set new quotas. This year´s culling has to be finished by March 31. The Energy and Environment Committee decided on 7 March to wait for a week until setting a time plan to process Helgesen’s suggestion. Therefore, it is unlikely that there will be any additional wolf hunting this season.
Now it is crucial the we all stand up for the wolves, and let the politicians know that we want the wolves to have a future in the Norwegian nature.
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The wolf is an important part of the Norwegian biodiversity. It is a top predator, with important functions in the ecosystem. It feeds mainly on moose and roe deer, thus contributing to keeping prey populations in balance with their food base. Additionally, the wolf can impact on populations of medium-sized and smaller predators which in its turn has an effect on ground-nesting birds and other prey species.
The wolf is listed as critically endangered on the Norwegian Red List, due to the small population. The major threats are inbreeding and poaching.
Most Norwegians want wolves in Norwegian nature, and we have a moral obligation to ensure viable populations of all species that live here. The presence of wolves in Norwegian nature has great existential value for many, and the wolf makes the nature a bit more wild and exciting.