Norway to Cull 5 Wolves Out a Total Population of 20

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The Norwegian Carnivore and Raptor Society strongly opposes the Norwegian decision 6. January 2005 to cull 5 wolves in Hedmark county. The Norwegian Minister of the Environment is first in Europe to open for regular hunting of an endangered species.

The world wide much-publicised 2001 helicopter culling of 8 wolves during a state action is fresh in memory: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1265249.stm and it is sad that our own Minister of the Environment would become the first in Europe to open for regular hunting of an endangered species. Although not surprising taken into account the seemingly endless internationally disputed list of macabre shows of animal antagonsim put on by our authorities:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/161392.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1639801.stm
http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article879671.ece
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2988322.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2815927.stm

The Norwegian population of wolves totals approx. 20 individuals. We demand the decision to be reversed based on the miniscule population level, the extremely low genetical differences, negligible loss of sheep and our national and international obligations to restore and maintain a viable population. The decision is a disgrace and further deteriorates the Norwegian reputation in environmental matters. Look for updates on http://www.fvr.no/.

Following the internationally condemned culling of 8 out the 25 wolves in 2001, Norway is ready for yet another action of wolf eradication. This time reportedly not by means of hired helicopters and state employees, but through regular private hunting groups locally in order to shift focus away from the authorities.

The Norwegian wolf population totals 20 individuals (excluding some shared Norwegian-Swedish individuals along the border) and the species is listed as endangered, i.e. high risk of extermination. Through the recent decision by the Directorate for Nature Management a staggering five individuals of the 20 will be hunted down in the coming weeks. Again without consulting with our neighbouring country Sweden which strangely enough is always territorially included by Norwegian authorities when it comes to defining the size of the Norwegian wolf population (approx. 100 in Norway and Sweden together).

It is a disgrace that Norway is incapable of protecting its wolf population. On the contrary - no efforts are spared to squeeze the tiny population through limitating measures such as culling. Still, the government insists that the wolf is not a hunted species!

This is not a flattering picture of a nation which actually initiated the Bern Convention - the international agreement on wildlife and habitat conservation. The agreement was specifically intended to commit each signing parties to keep the populations of naturally ocurring species out of danger. The same agreement is largely pulverized as a conservation tool due to relentless and successful Norwegian efforts to break the principle of national responsibility and so free itself from the burden of a viable population of wolves. The credibility in environmental matters has reached a depressing level.

In fact, the whole Scandinavian wolf population, numbering approx. 100, is highly inbred due to the constant shooting of new wolves arriving from Finland and Russia. Thus, the population is now extremely vulnerable.

Added regular poaching to the legal pressure and reduced genetic diversity and you have the bleak prospects of the Scandinavian wolf population. It is quite extraordinary that this miniscule population has managed to survive to this day despite the ever-mounting threats to their lives.

The losses of livestock that triggered this event are negligible (47 sheep in southern hunting area, less in the northern, and the total confirmed national loss due to wolf in 2004 was 544 sheep) as is the potential damage. The really major losses are caused by the practising of sheep farming. Two million sheep are left to fend for themselves in the wilderness for several months each year, resulting in losses of 100.000 sheep caused by everything else other than predators, i.e. 1.100 sheep each day during grazing season. In short, a gigantic animal cruelty problem officially considered by the authorities as acceptable. As opposed to the unacceptable loss of 544 sheep - or even 47.

The wolf population goal in Norway was decided by the Parliament in summer 2004: http://www.fvr.no/informasjon/carnigoal.html. It is an astoundingly low goal of 3 annual breedings inside a tiny area close to the Swedish border: http://www.fvr.no/informasjon/2004forlik.html. For all practical purposes it is a goal of extermination. Over the years the politically based management area has steadily been reduced: http://www.fvr.no/informasjon/ulvesone2004lg_usemap.html. It has been nothing else than a long term stepwise effort to rid the country of wolves altogether. It is the result of poor and primitive attitudes towards our natural environment. And what is more - the population goal inside the management area has not even been reached yet!

The decision to hunt down one fourth of the wolf population in Norway is truly yet another shock to the international environmental community.

We should be able to bring updates on our homepage: http://www.fvr.no. And there is always a chance that this paper brings news in english on the matter: http://www.aftenposten.no/english.

Should you wish to make further enqueries to the decision makers, this is the email address of the Minister of the Environment Mr. Knut Arild Hareide: http://odin.dep.no/md/engelsk/dep/statsraad_a/

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