WWF-Norway has filed an appeal of the verdict from the Oslo District Court, where the court found that Norwegian carnivore management is not unlawful.
– We believe the sentence is incorrect. By going to court in the first place, we were hoping at least for a clarification of some of the basic assumptions of the Norwegian carnivore management: What national and international obligations does Norway have when it comes to protected species of carnivore in our nature? What does it actually mean that the wolf population should be viable throughout its range? What requirements does the legislation stipulate for decisions to shoot protected species? said Ingrid Lomelde, Policy Director at WWF-Norway.
– Unfortunately, these and other questions have not been answered by the district court. On the contrary: the verdict is poorly reasoned, leaving WWF´s arguments unanswered. We cannot accept that. We see around the world a historic loss of biodiversity. The world´s wildlife has been reduced by 60 per cent in the last 40 years alone, and the loss of nature is taking place in Norway too, said Lomelde.
– To reverse this trend, it is crucial that nature is protected and managed in a way that ensures viable populations and comprehensive ecosystems in all countries.
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 stated 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.
Breaking news: WWF takes the Norwegian state to court to save the wolves.— WWFVerdens naturfond (@WWFNorge) November 8, 2017
– The culling is against the law and must be stopped before it is too late to save a critically endangered species, said WWF-Norway's @ilomelde. https://t.co/j9vtPtQq5S 🐺 #Verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves🇳🇴 pic.twitter.com/sUZQfe9Tql
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, after the culling by the authorities, 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.
10 facts about the Norwegian wolves