Predator casualty numbers rise

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A record number of bears were shot in Norway during the most recent hunting season, and the numbers of wolves, lynx and wolverines shot are up as well.  Meanwhile, around 20 moose and deer are killed in traffic every day.

More bears were shot during the past year than in any year since 1915. This one, though, is safe in a park in Denmark. PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons

It’s become more hazardous to be a wild animal in Norway, it seems. A total of 18 bears were shot and killed in Norway during the hunting season of 2009-2010, reports state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway). The total is up from 12 in the prior year and is the highest number since 1915.

Of the 18 bears shot, only nine were felled under license. One was shot allegedly in self-defense while the others were mostly shot with special permits because they were considered a nuisance, according to SSB.

Eight wolves, meanwhile, were also shot or died of others causes in Norway last winter. Only two were shot under license, while four were killed because they also were considered a nuisance. Wolves remain a controversial issue in Norway, with conservationists trying to rebuild the wolf population after its near extinction in the 1990s and ranchers unhappy over their presence. Complaints continue of rogue wolf-hunting in the country, especially in the eastern county of Hedmark.

A total of 89 wolverines (jerve) were shot or died of other causes, according to SSB, one less than in the previous year. Fully 51 were shot as a nuisance, mostly in northern Norway. Of the 102 permits issued to shoot wolverines, only 35 were actually felled under license.

Hunting licenses were issued for 149 lynx (called gaupe in Norwegian) and 117 were shot, most of them in Nord-Trøndelag. Another 10 were killed in traffic.

Traffic tragedies
SSB also reported that never before have so many deer and moose been killed in traffic, either by motorists or trains, as during the past year. All told, 10,600 deer and moose were killed outside of the annual hunts, up 5 percent from the year before, with more than 7,000 killed in traffic.

That amounts to 20 animals every day, claims SSB, noting that around 900 were hit by trains and 6,400 by cars and trucks. Norwegian highway officials have been trying to reduce the numbers of collisions between motorists and moose, for example, by clearing brush away from the sides of highways, erecting more fences and posting more warnings, some of them unconventional, along roads.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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