Norway Has 68 Wolves Living in the Wild, and It Plans to Kill 47
Probably thinking that it’s already doing too much for the environment, with the exception of oil exploitation in the North Sea and hunting endangered whales, Norway has also decided to kill off two-thirds of its “whoppingly large” wolf population. And while many environmental groups have criticized the decision, the country’s government sticks by its decision.
“We haven’t seen anything like this in almost 100 years, when the policy at the time was to exterminate all the big predators,” said Nina Jensen, head of the Norwegian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), in a statement.
The main reasoning behind this decision comes from the fact that wolves aren’t threatened as a species globally and are cited to being in the ‘least concern’ category. But while wolves thrive in still isolated places like Siberia in Russia, in Scandinavia; not so much. By the end of the 1960’s, the wolf became extinct in this part of the world. Only in the 1980’s did two wolves managed to find their way back, and since then they’ve managed to slowly grow in number. Today, however, the Norwegian government decided to cut that short.
Why do this?
The official version is to help sheep herders. Norwegians are said to have a tradition of letting their sheep roam and graze freely, so it would not be possible to save them from wolf attacks. However, this statement is a bit farfetched, since just 68 wolves can’t seriously be considered a big enough threat to livestock on a national or even a local level. More sheep will probably get lost by not tending to them than be eaten by these few carnivores. Nina Jensen also highlighted a commitment taken by the Norwegian parliament to allow populations of carnivores to co-exist with livestock.
“This decision must be stopped,” said Silje Ask Lundberg, chair of Friends of the Earth Norway. “With this decision, three out of six family groups of wolves might be shot. We are calling on the minister of environment to stop the butchering. Today, Norway should be ashamed.”
The real reason for this slaughter may lie in the increase interest Norwegians were showing in hunting wolves as of last year. More than 11,000 hunters applied for a permit to kill 16 wolves – which numbers to about 700 applicants per wolf. Whatever the case, this culling has no real justified reason, especially with this marginally small population of wolves.