Saturday, February 5, 2011

Yet another massacre

Norway is gearing up for yet another wolf massacre. Please contact your favorite/local/regional news organization and encourage them to cover the barbaric travesty playing itself out against a desperately persecuted, critically endangered species, the beautiful and intelligent grey wolf (Canis lupus) in the far northern reaches of Europe. Feel free to use the text below in your appeal for coverage of the Endlösung Norwegian authorities are unleashing on the once most widely ranging mammal species on Earth.

Just as the last few wolves are dying in Sweden, Norway is gearing up for yet another massacre of the critically endangered wolf.

Sweden has raised international ire by repeating the stunt it started last year, in what now looks like an annual wolf massacre. Last year 28 wolves fell, and right now the last few are dying out of the 20 Swedish authorities have allowed more than 6,700 “hunters” to pursue this year, with the express goal of capping the population at 210 individuals.

Across the border, in Norway, the situation is much worse.

Local Norwegian “carnivore councils” have authorized the killing of eight wolves, out of the approximately 30-35 individuals in the country (annual surveys report the number of wolves tracked the previous winter, including wolves already known to have been killed or died naturally, but not including pups born the following summer and not including trans-border individuals). In the northern district of Finnmark, a natural corridor for migrants from the Finno-Russian wolf population into the desperately inbred population in southern Scandinavia, the hunt is already on for two wolves in a chase allowed to go on until March 31. In Oppland local forces have set about killing two wolves, and to the south of the country one was executed already in December. In Hedmark district, just outside the “wolf management zone” where national policy allows up to three wolf packs to persist, 1,300 “hunters” are set to begin the slaughter of three wolves on February 15.

The European Commission has launched infringement proceedings against Sweden for breach of European Environmental law, citing the unfavorable conservation status of the Swedish wolf population, lack of scientific backing for the cull of a critically endangered species, and other issues. EC criticism of Sweden, nor legal proceedings, wont keep Norway from killing eight of "their" approximately 30-35 wolves (>20%). Sweden is criticized for their arbitrary ceiling of 210 wolves set for the number of wolves in Sweden. Norway seeks to cap “their” wolf population at three breeding pairs or packs.

The Scandinavian wolf population was considered extinct until the discovery of a single re-established pair in the border region of southern Norway and Sweden in 1978. One additional immigrant managed to make it past the gauntlet of murderous reindeer herders in northern Scandianavia in 1991, and these three individuals formed the basis for the Scandinavian wolf population. That is, until recently the entire population was descended from just three individuals. It is consequently desperately inbred and in need of fresh immigrants from the adjacent Finno-Russian population.

In 2001, Norway sent Government “hunters” out to kill 10 of the 28 wolves in the country at the time, resorting at last to aerial killing from helicopters to get the job done. In 2005, the Government of Norway sanctioned the licensed persecution of five wolves out of an estimated 21-26 in the country the previous winter (a handful of which where already known to be dead), destroying three of the four established pairs/packs in the process. Now the Ministry for the Environment is poised to allow yet another slaughter. Population dynamicists and geneticists agree that the population needs to grow out of the current bottleneck as quickly as possibly. Clearly, these recurrent massacres are not helping.

National politicians find it difficult to muster the guts to stand up against a vociferous public in rural areas wielding a varying grab-bag of irrational, anti-scientific, and opportunistic arguments, and national authorities lack the scientific understanding and the mental capacity to withstand this pressure. It goes without saying that if the competence is lacking at national level, it is certainly lacking at local and regional levels, whence national politicians have seen fit to delegate responsibility for natural resource management and biodiversity.

For more background on the situation for wolves in Norway and Scandinavia, see: Science, law and politics in the case of the Norwegian wolf.

Sweden may weasel their way out of trouble with the EC, but Norway, having opted out of EU membership, is not subject to EU law or criticism from the European Commission. Nor, it seems, do they consider themselves bound by such arcane matters as science, morality, and decency.


Fátima Pestana said...


Fátima Pestana

Debrinconcita said...

I am appalled by the pictures and the Wolves dying unneedlessly.They need to let these Wild animals from our past,present & future live and let live. I see them as a very beautiful species. They are families and they do good only farmers with they animals have problems with them. MOVE your animals.