Hunters taking part in a major and controversial effort to greatly reduce Norway’s wolf population shot and killed two more wolves on Wednesday while wounding a third. The wounded wolf was later found and killed as well.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that it took several hours for around 50 hunters to track down the injured wolf east of Åkrestrømmen in Rendalen, Hedmark County. Its death brings the total of wolves shot and killed since January 1 to six.
The Norwegian Parliament, after months of political debate, allowed a total of 42 wolves to be hunted, 16 of them in Hedmark. Farmers and others who feel threatened by wolves are racing against the clock to shoot as many as possible for fear a court in Oslo will halt the hunt, which is the biggest in Norway since wolves were put under protection orders in the early 1970s. Around 100 hunters are taking part in the Hedmark hunt alone.
The wildlife and environmental organization WWF believes the hunt violates both the law protecting wolves in Norway and Norway’s international obligations to protect threatened species. The Oslo City Court, which temporarily halted the hunt in December, is expected to issue its verdict by the end of the week.
WWF’s lawsuit has inflamed anti-wolf activists who now also are urging a boycott of sportswear maker Stormberg because it is financially supporting WWF’s efforts to save endangered species in Norway.