Norway slashes wolf hunting quota
Norway yesterday slashed its hunting quota for wolves from 47 to 15 in a decision hailed as the “best Christmas gift” by environmental campaigners who feared a mass slaughter. Regional authorities had authorized in September the culling of 47 wolves, fuelling an outcry among activists who protested that the animals are threatened with extinction in the Scandinavian country. Rovdata, a Norwegian agency which monitors predators, recorded between 65 and 68 wolves in the country last winter and at least 25 others in regions bordering Sweden.
The environment ministry concluded that the slaughter of four packs totaling 32 wolves would violate Norwegian law and the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. “The wolves of these four packs do not represent a sufficient potential damage to sheep and domestic reindeer” to justify their killing, Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen told a news conference.
Norway is home to nine breeding packs, against a target set by parliament of four to six, according to latest government figures. Helgesen’s announcement was welcomed by WWF-Norway, which had previously voiced concern that the projected “mass slaughter” would cause 70 percent of the wolf population in the nation to disappear.
It said the decision marked the cancellation of the most comprehensive wolf hunt in Norway in over 100 years. “This is the best Christmas gift we could ever have,” said WWF-Norway head Nina Jensen. “This proves once and for all that the wolf is at home in the Norwegian nature.” — AFP