For Heaven’s Sake Norway

Recently, the Norwegian government has issued a number of licenses to hunters to kill wolves, in an effort to cull their growing wolf population.

When you put it like that, it sounds as though Norwegian wolves are thriving. Given their reduced habitat, you can’t allow the wolf population to grow too large or they will be killing off entire flocks of sheep, right? It’s the principle of culling: keep the population under control, so that they don’t breed too much and wind up using up all the resources available, leading inevitably to the extinction of the entire population.

Here’s the thing though. They have issued 47 licenses to kill wolves. So… how many wolves are there in Norway?


6-fucking-8. In the entire country.

The “growing population” refers to the fact that there might be a few more, given that there was a litter born in April or May and they’re not quite sure how many pups were in it.

Here’s the thing, Norway. You can’t have a species listed as critically endangered in your country, and at the same time say that there needs to be a mass culling of 2/3 of that same species because their numbers are out of control. It doesn’t work like that. Yes, wolves are predators and yes, they will occasionally kill a few sheep. That’s life, it happens. Shepherds can get a nice maremmano, for instance. Or, they can accept the fact that, when you deal in livestock, you will have some losses due to illness, injury, or predation.

What annoys me is that the Norwegian government is trying to pass this off not as a government-sponsored annihilation of an entire species, but rather as a genuine concern for a rapid uncontrolled growth of a species. That is clearly not the case. So, why are they not a bit more honest about it, and just say “we don’t want wolves. We don’t like them, they occasionally kill sheep, they’ve got to go?”

Because that just sounds bad. The one silver lining in this story is, I suppose, the fact that you can’t just come out and say that you want to wipe a species off the map anymore, unless it is a deadly parasite. It just sounds so obnoxious to say that you want to exterminate wolves because of the odd sheep death, people are sick of hearing how humans just can’t deal with not being the only top predator around. It sounds petty, and whinging.

So, they’re trying to pass off this hunting spree as a culling, but they’re not fooling anyone. If you speak Norwegian, go ahead and let the government know of your displeasure through WWF Norway.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    It’s not like the Norwegian government couldn’t afford to pay the shepherds for the sheep killed by wolves. They have oil money and hydropower money and huge alcohol taxes.

  2. says

    Hunters did a big lie campaign about the number of bears “exploding” in New Jersey and there being a need to have a bear hunting season to cull the herd. They did a big drawing for the very limited license pool and when the big day came: nobody saw a single bear. I guess the bears were all at the shopping mall, or maybe they weren’t overrunning things at all.

    68 wolves in a country the size of Norway is “not enough wolves” not “too many wolves.”

    Hunters are frequently dishonest about their bloody, disgusting, amusements. Yeah, because they’re tired of people being contemptuous of them, for some reason.

  3. Kreator says

    I personally know a couple of ranchers and I can’t believe the amount of hatred these people feel towards any animal that’s not domesticated.

  4. says

    This National Geographic item makes for interesting reading. I’m no expert, but I’d wager European and North American wolves have similar pack and hunting behaviours.

    Why Killing Wolves Might Not Save Livestock

    A new study has found that—paradoxically—killing a wolf can increase the risk that wolves will prey on livestock in the future.

    The research, published today in the scientific journal PLOS One, flies in the face of the common idea that the swiftest and surest way to deal with wolves threatening livestock is by shooting the predators. It adds to a growing understanding of how humans influence the complex dynamics driving these pack animals, sometimes with unexpected consequences.

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    One of the things hunters moan about here in Finland (about 200 wolves live here and we’re the same size and population density as Norway) is that wolves kill their dogs. This is especially egregious when they complain about their dogs tracking hares or barking at capercaillie, black grouse or moose (to keep them in one place while the hunter gets there to take a shot) being taken by wolves during the hunt.

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