WWF suing the Norwegian state again to stop the culling of wolves
– It is absurd that we have to do this, but the Ministry of Climate and Environment has made a new culling decision that we still hold is unlawful. We demand that the culling in the counties of Østfold, Oslo, Akershus and Hedmark has to be stopped pending a legal trial, said Ingrid Lomelde, Policy Director at WWF-Norway.
For the second time in a few weeks, WWF-Norway has sued the Norwegian state. Last time around, WWF´s demand that the ongoing culling had to be stopped pending a trial about the Norwegian wolf management, was acknowledged by the Oslo District Court. When the Ministry of Climate and Environment then made a new, identical decision that allowed the culling of 12 wolves outside the wolf zone – in addition to opening up for the culling of 16 wolves inside the zone – a new lawsuit was deemed necessary.
Initially the regional carnivore management authorities opened up for the culling of 50 wolves during this season´s hunt – the equivalent of 90 percent of the wolves residing in Norway. In its appeal treatment, the Ministry of Climate and Environment removed eight wolves from the quota – the equivalent of one pack – and as a result of this a total of 42 wolves can now be culled. In addition to the 28 wolves that can be culled in Østfold, Oslo, Akerhus and Hedmark, another 14 wolves can be culled in the rest of the country. This is the equivalent of 75 percent of the wolves that reside in Norway.
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Here is a summary of the what has happened so far:
- November 2nd WWF-Norway sued the state because we hold that the wolf management is unconstitutional, and that it goes against the Norwegian Biodiversity Act and the Bern Convention. At the same time, WWF demanded a temporary stop to the ongoing culling in Østfold, Oslo, Akershus and Hedmark.
- November 21st the Oslo District Court ruled in favour of WWF-Norway and the ongoing culling was stopped– on the grounds that the current quota decision contained procedural errors.
- December 1st the Ministry of Climate and Environment made a new culling decision for hunting outside the wolf zone in the above-mentioned counties. . The Ministry substantiated its decision by stating that the procedural errors from the previous decision had been rectified. However, the content of the new decision is the same as in the first decision.
- December 1st the Ministry of Climate and Environment also decided that two wolf packs – a total of 16 animals – living outside the zone can be culled.
- December 13th WWF sues the state for the second time, since the original lawsuit was linked to the culling decision that the Oslo District Court set aside. The new lawsuit is linked to the two decisions made by the Ministry on December 1st.
- December 13th WWF-Norway simultaneously demands a full stop to the culling in all areas of thecounties mentioned above – i.e. the culling of both the 12 wolves outside the zone and the two packs – until a full legal treatment has been carried out by the courts.
– A management regime like what we see for wolves in Norway would never have been accepted for any other endangered species. As we said when we sued the state last time around: enough is enough. We have tried everything else. The culling regime is unlawful and we have to stop it before it is too late.
What happens now?
As for WWF’s demand that the planned culling is stopped pending a court decision about the Norwegian wolf management, WWF-Norway hopes that the Oslo District Court can make a decision before the Christmas holidays. That way the wolf culling cannot start until after a court decision has been made. If WWF does not succeed in stopping the culling pending a court decision, culling outside the zone will start December 21st, while culling of the two packs in the zone will start January 1st.