WWF disappointed in wolf ruling
Last year WWF-Norway sued the Ministry of Climate and Environment, claiming that the Norwegian carnivore management goes against the Constitution, the Biodiversity Act and the Bern Convention. The court case started 24 April and lasted for four days in the Oslo District Court. In its ruling, Oslo Court acquits the defendant, the Ministry of Climate and Environment.
A need to safeguard nature
– We still hold that there is an urgent need for a new carnivore management in Norway to safeguard the Norwegian nature and avoid an increased pressure on critically endangered species like the wolf, said Bård Vegar Solhjell of WWF-Norway.
– We will now read the Oslo Court ruling thoroughly and consider how we want to proceed, continued Solhjell.
The wolf is critically endangered in Norway. Even so, authorities have for several years allowed extensive culling. The wolf is only allowed to establish itself within a politically decided wolf zone that constitutes about 5 percent of the total Norwegian land area. This has created many conflicts. Culling licences are quickly issued whenever a wolf finds itself on the wrong side of the invisible border. The Norwegian wolf is also threatened by inbreeding, which is a direct result of a small population based on few paternal and maternal ancestors. Illegal hunting is a third and serious threat to the wolf.
Ban on killing wolves
The Constitution, the Biodiversity Act and the Bern Convention sets the overall perimeter for the management of species and hunting, including carnivores, in Norway. A clear premise is that the wolf is a protected species that is listed on the Norwegian Red List of endangered species 2015 as “Critically endangered” – with an extreme high risk of going extinct. The wolf is also listed on list II in the Bern Convention, something which puts in place strict demands for protecting the species and its habitat. The legislation only allows for a few, limited exceptions from the ban on killing wolves.
The Oslo Court ruling states that there is legal ground for continued exception from the ban. Lost income from hunting and the negative experience from wolf presence may be emphasized, according to the Oslo Court ruling.
Science based management
– We will now read the ruling thoroughly and consider our next steps. We want the carnivore management to be based on scientific and experiential knowledge. This is not the case today. We have a politically decided wolf population goal that is not based on science and in addition functions as a maximum limit to how many wolves we are to have in this country. This is keeping the number of wolves at a critically low level, said Solhjell.