Wolves Evade Hunters, So Far

Norway's fledgling wolf population managed to evade a large team of hunters who launched a four-week pursuit over the weekend. The hunters claimed three sightings, but none fired a shot

Aftenposten / January 10, 2005

Norway's wolves are in the firing line for the next five weeks. These, however, are safe in a wildlife park.

"We'll try again next weekend," said Odd Arne Ås, who's leading a team of around 40 hunters who are out after wolves.

They recently won permission from state wildlife authorities to shoot five wolves in the eastern valley known as Østerdalen between now and February 15. Three can be shot in the Stor-Elvdal and Rendalen areas, while two others can be shot further south, near Elverum.

The hunt is controversial. The World Wildlife Fund's Norwegian chapter has mounted an angry protest, and appealed to the government's Minister of the Environment, Knut Arild Hareide, to stop the hunt.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) notes that there aren't more than 18 to 25 wolves in Norway at present. Shooting up to five of them, claims the WWF, will make a major dent in a species that was nearly wiped out just a decade ago.

"The Norwegian wolf population hasn't increased for the past four years because of illegal hunts," said Rasmus Hansson, secretary general of the WWF. He wants the wolf put on endangered species lists in both Norway and Sweden.

Proponents of the hunt say it's necessary to protect livestock and reindeer from the wolves. More than 100 hunters applied for licenses to take part in it.