Wildlife commissions in four regions of southeastern Norway sided with ranchers and landowners on Thursday in calling for a wolf hunt aimed at wiping out five wolf packs now living in wolf zones where they’re supposed to be protected. That’s twice as many as the commissions’ professional secretariat advised.
The commissions for the regions of Hedmark, Oslo, Akershus and Østfold voted at a joint meeting for a wolf hunt that would be record large and shoot as many as 32 wolves within the wolf zones plus 12 outside the zones. A majority concluded that Norway’s wolf population, which currently numbers around 80 wolves, could tolerate the hunt.
The minority strongly disagreed, with Benedicte Lund of the Greens Party in Østfold telling state broadcaster NRK that it’s “unfortunate” that after two years with record low loss of free-grazing livestock to predators, that a record-high hunt is approved.
Environmental and animal rights groups Naturvernforbundet and NOAH had appealed the hunt for the 12 wolves outside the zones. Now it’s up to the Environment Ministry to decide whether to approve the hunt for wolves that still stand on a list of the world’s threatened species.