Please make sure you contact the 81 Senators who sacrificed the Northern Rockies gray wolves, especially the Democrats who betrayed their party and wolves for Jon Tester’s Senate seat. Only three Democrats voted no.
Let them know not only did they throw wolves under the bus but they gutted the Endangered Species Act and opened the door for any species to be delisted that gets in the way of someone’s political agenda. Further tell them you’ll be changing your party affiliation to Independent. They’ve done irreparable damage to the Democrat party and Endangered Species Act. We’ll keep them updated on the coming wolf hunts and slaughter. Too bad they didn’t do their homework and only listened to one side of the story before they made their fateful decision.
This delisting included Montana and Idaho (with no judicial review), parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. Wyoming was not…
Norway’s recent decision to destroy 70% of its tiny endangered population of wolves shocked conservationists worldwide and saw 35,000 sign a local petition. But in a region dominated by sheep farming support for the cull runs deep.
Norway has a population of just 68 wolves and conservationists say most off the injuries to sheep are caused by roaming wolves from Swedish packs. Photograph: Roger Strandli Berghagen
Conservation groups worldwide were astonished to hear of the recent,unprecedented decision to destroy 70% of the Norway’s tiny and endangered population of 68 wolves, the biggest cull for almost a century.
But not everyone in Norway is behind the plan. The wildlife protection group Predator Alliance Norway, for example, has campaign posters that talk of wolves as essential for nature, and a tourist attraction for Norway.
Nothing unusual about that, given it’s a wildlife group, except that the group is based in Trysil, the heartland of the territory where most of the wolf culling announced by Norwegian authorities last week will take place.
Lars-Erik Lie, a 46-year-old mental health worker who founded the group in 2010, told the Guardian: “I got so upset and saddened by the locals’ thirst for wolf blood, and wanted to show that not all villagers are in favour of wiping out this beautiful animal.
“Many locals think there should be room for both predators and livestock, but they have kept their mouths shut out of fear for repercussions.” Lie has himself been the target of threats.
Culling could undermine the viability of the entire Norwegian wolf population, say conservationists. Photograph: Roger Strandli Berghagen
At the heart of the matter is the conflict between sheep farmers and conservationists. Norway is a large sheep farming nation, unique in letting most of its 2 million sheep roam free all summer without herding, fencing and with little supervision.
As a result, 120,000 sheep are lost each year, and 20,000 of these deaths are attributed to predators, judging by state compensation payouts, which are based on documentation and assessment by the authorities. Beyond that, 900 cadavers found annually are confirmed to have been killed by predators. The wolf accounts for 8% of kills.
Wolves, bears, lynx, wolverines and golden eagles are Norway’s native top predators.
In 1846, the authorities issued bounties to hunt them down, resulting in all species being virtually extinct by the mid-20th century, The wolf was given protected status in 1973, a watershed in wildlife management for the acknowledgement of its part in Norwegian fauna and in need of protection. The first wolf returned in 1980, though the first breeding entirely on Norwegian soil did not take place until 1997.
In the meantime, a new breed of sheep had invaded the land. “The breed of sheep vastly favoured by Norwegian farmers is unsuited to roam around the rugged terrain of the country,” said Silje Ask Lundberg, from Friends of the Earth Norway.
The sheep is favoured for its size and large proportion of meat, but is a bad climber and has poor herding and flight instincts, unlike the old short-tail land race, considered the original Norwegian sheep race, prevalent on the west coast, where ironically there are no wolves.
Just across the mountain from Lie’s house in Trysil, is the territory of the Slettåsen pack, which has been marked out for a complete cull even though the wolves live within a designated wolf zone.
The framework for predator management has been set by parliament, with local predator management boards setting hunting and culling quotas when population targets have been achieved.
“The lack of a scientific and professional approach is obvious,” said Lie. In January his organisation filed a complaint that the board votes in representatives with vested interests, such as farmers, whereas green party members have been excluded.
Lars-Erik Lie of Predator Alliance Norway. Photograph: Arve Herman Tangen
At his office in Oslo, Sverre Lundemo of WWF Norway is also puzzled. “It seems strange that we should punish the wolf for following its natural instincts, particularly within specially designated zones where the wolf supposedly has priority over livestock,” he says.
“The Slettåsen pack is very stable and of genetic importance. Scandinavian wolves are subject to inbreeding and poaching, and this makes the small population more vulnerable to random events. Culling these individuals can undermine the viability of the entire Norwegian wolf population.”
According to Lundemo, the decision for culling appears to be based on politics as much as on science. The WWF have examined the case document that formed the base of the decision. “This a questionable decision on many levels. The case documents don’t substantiate why these three particular territories were singled out for culling,” said Lundemo.
Despite the population within the wolf zone having almost doubled since last year, attacks on livestock have almost halved. “Most of the injuries are inflicted by roaming young wolves from Swedish packs,” said Lundemo.
Sweden has stricter regulations for sheep farmers, refusing to compensate farmers who don’t protect livestock properly. As a member of the EU, Sweden had a planned licenced cull of 10 % of their wolf population of 400 in 2014 reduced following pressure.
Friends of the Earth advocate more suitable breeds of sheep, or cattle, and better fences and herding. WWF is exploring the option to challenge the decision legally before the wolf hunt sets in on 1 January 2017.
Back in Trysil, the Predator Alliance is gaining momentum. The group has submitted a 35,000-signature petition for protecting the wolf to the prime minister, Erna Solberg. “We humans have become greedy, behaving like nature is there for our taking,” said Lie. “When you have a population as small as the one we have in Norway now, you have to draw the line.”
“The wolf population is already very small and critically endangered,” Silje Lundberg, a prominent Norwegian environmentalist, told the U.K.’s Express. “To eradicate 70 percent of such a vulnerable species is shocking.”
Most recent reports suggest wolves kill , at most, 1,500 of the country’s 2 million grazing sheep annually. Another 100,000 have died from poisonous plants, drowning, traffic accidents and various diseases.
Scientists, however, contend that taking wolves out of the ecological picture will have a profound effect on all wildlife. As a keystone species, wolves play “a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions,” National Geographic notes. “Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether.”
“This is pure mass slaughter,” Nina Jensen, of the Norwegian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature, told the Guardian. “We haven’t seen anything like this in almost 100 years, when the policy at the time was to exterminate all the big predators.”
Indeed, if recent history is an indication, all of Norway’s wolves seem to be on a slippery slope. So far, more than 11,000 people have signed a petition calling the country’s lawmakers to cancel the cull.
Majority of 17,301 public comments opposed to hunting and trapping threatened Algonquin wolves
MONTREAL– Last week, as the hunting and trapping seasons opened, the Ontario government announced its decision to strip at-risk Algonquin wolves of protection from hunters and trappers across the majority of their range. Ongoing hunting and trapping, the primary threats to the species, caused the wolves’ at-risk status to deteriorate to Threatened on June 15th 2016. A mere 154 adult wolves are left in Ontario. Conservation and animal rights groups from across North America are condemning the decision.
Ontario claims their decision is justified due to the inability of hunters and trappers to differentiate between coyotes and Algonquin wolves. Without genetically testing each animal killed, the government cannot track how many Algonquin wolves are killed. There is no limit on the number of wolves that can be trapped and hunting bag limits are absent in some parts of the wolf’s habitat.
Hunting and trapping were banned in the townships surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park in 2001 due to overwhelming public concern for the park wolves. This year, public concern has been ignored – the majority of the 17,301 comments submitted in response to the proposals opposed the regulation changes.
“The Ontario government is peddling their decision as improved protection for the wolves because they have closed hunting and trapping in three additional areas bordering provincial parks,” said Hannah Barron, director of wildlife conservation, Earthroots. “However, these new closures are too small to protect Algonquin wolf packs, let alone individual animals capable of traveling hundreds of kilometres in their lifetime. Any wolf outside of these closures can be killed.”
“Allowing these rare wolves to be killed is not only inhumane and shameful, it can have unintended consequences for farmers and the animals in their care. A growing body of research shows that hunting and trapping can increase future livestock depredation by causing social chaos amongst wolf and coyote populations,” noted Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada.
“If the government was actually serious about protecting farmers’ livelihoods, they would subsidize non-lethal strategies to prevent depredation in the first place. This decision not only endangers a threatened wolf species, it also fails the farming community.” remarked Lesley Sampson, executive director of Coy ote Watch Canada.
“By allowing hunters and trappers to kill Algonquin wolves across the majority of their extent of occurrence, Ontario’s message to the American people and their own constituents is that species-at-risk recovery is not a priority,” stated Maggie Howell, director of the Wolf Conservation Center in New York. “This decision is in direct contravention to its ministry’s mandate.”
Vargstammen är fortfarande för liten, skriver debattören TT
När myndigheter fattar beslut om jakt på en hotad art måste det ske restriktivt och med bakgrund av vetenskapliga underlag, skriver Johanna Sandahl, ordförande för Naturskyddsföreningen i ett debattsvar.
Ynqwe (C), Berg (M), Tysklind (L) och Oscarsson (KD) skriver i Folkbladet 14/1 att de är oroliga för att regeringen ”överväger att återgå till den tidigare ordningen för överprövning av beslut om skydds- och licensjakt”.
Det som skribenterna syftar på är att miljöorganisationer tidigare kunde överklaga Naturvårdsverkets beslut om jakt på varg. I fjol infördes dock ett överklagandeförbud för miljöorganisationerna. Detta förbud har nu upphört att gälla.
Men det är inte den svenska regeringen, utan Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen, som den 18 december 2015 slagit fast att miljöorganisationer återigen ska få överklaga domar om jakt.
Domstolen skriver i sitt beslut att överklagandeförbudet står i strid med EU-rätten. I och med domstolens beslut gäller överklagandeförbudet inte längre. Miljöorganisationer har därmed återfått rätten att pröva storskalig jakt efter varg och andra hotade djur i domstol.
Möjligheten att få till stånd domstolsprövning av myndigheters beslut är en grundbult i alla rättssamhällen och en fundamental del i skyddet för demokratin.
Det är också en självklar princip i en demokrati att domstolarna ska vara fristående. Regeringen varken kan eller får påverka domstolarnas beslut.
Som medlem i EU ska Sverige följa EU:s regler. Vi tycker det är bra att naturskyddet i EU är starkt.
De regler som skyddar svenska vargar skyddar också delfiner i Medelhavet, skogar på kontinenten och våra flyttfåglar när de flyger över Medelhavsländerna.
Vargen har en viktig roll i naturen. Därför behövs en livskraftig vargstam. Vi anser att det i dag samlade vetenskapliga underlaget, som inkluderar vargstammens genetiska situation, visar att vargen i Sverige för närvarande inte har gynnsam bevarandestatus.
Den vargstam som lever i vårt land är fortfarande för liten, alltför geografiskt och genetiskt isolerad, och därmed sårbar för att tåla omfattande avskjutningar.
Vi är inte emot all jakt på varg, men när myndigheterna fattar beslut om jakt på en hotad art måste det ske restriktivt och mot bakgrund av vetenskapliga underlag.
Jakt på hotade arter behöver också kunna prövas i domstol, varför vi välkomnar att Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen tydliggjort att det nu återigen är möjligt.
För att få en hållbar rovdjursförvaltning är det viktigt att se framåt och finna lösningar som fungerar. Ett konkret förslag vore att se till att tamdjursägare får förbättrat stöd för förebyggande rovdjursavvisande stängsel; ett förslag som både Naturskyddsföreningen och Lantbrukarnas Riksförbund driver.
Ett annat förslag är att starta upp den tidigare vargkommittén, där både partier och intresseorganisationer ingick, och som lyckades enas om långtgående förslag i vargfrågan.
Vi tror det kunde vara en god utgångspunkt för en konstruktiv och lösningsorienterad dialog framåt.
The Modoc County wolf left his birthpack in northeastern Oregon in April, was in southwestern Oregon by December and recently crossed the border into California, according to wildlife conservation advocates.
“California is clearly wolf country because they keep coming here from Oregon. This is a great moment to celebrate,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Perhaps they are following a scent trail from other wolves that have come here the past couple years but, whatever the reason, it makes it all the more necessary to ensure they have the protections needed to thrive once they get here.”
The gray wolf is native to California but was extirpated from the state by the mid-1920s.
In June 2014 the California Fish and Game Commission voted in favor of the petition, making it illegal to intentionally kill any wolves that enter the state. In 2012 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife convened a citizen stakeholder group to help the agency develop a state wolf plan for California, and recently released a draft plan for public comment.
“With the establishment of the Shasta pack and now with OR-25’s presence, it is all the more critical that the state wolf plan provide management strategies that will best recover and conserve these magnificent animals,” said Weiss.