Nine wolves have been shot or killed in accidents so far this year, the highest number since 2001. Most have been shot in Hedmark county, with the most recent shooting on Thursday in Vågå in Oppland county.
In 2001, 11 wolves had been registered as killed by May 15, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
In a letter sent to regional counties and predator management boards earlier this month, Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft signaled clearer zone management plans with a lower threshold for the removal of predators which have either done damage, or are expected to harm grazing animals.
Terje Bø from the Environment Directorate (Miljødirektoratet) said it was hard to estimate how many wolves and other predatory animals were killed each year. “The letter to the county governors and predator boards went out a fortnight ago and will as such have only had a limited effect so far,” said Bø. “The main reason for taking out more wolves is that we have had an increase in the number and better documentation on the territories in Sweden producing wolves which roam into Norway.”
There are just three wolf family groups in Norway, but 35 in Sweden. Bø said licensed hunting of wolves would be introduced again this year. “Last year hunting licenses were open for five wolves,” he said. “I am almost 100 percent certain that there will also be a licensed hunt this year.”