Beauty Is A Beast

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Culling could undermine the viability of the entire Norwegian wolf population, say conservationists. Photograph: Roger Strandli Berghagen

We love sheep, and sheep farmers, and shepherds, and wool, and so on. But we cannot read this without feeling more sympathy for the wolves, at this moment:

Norway’s wolf cull pits sheep farmers against conservationists

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

Elisabeth Ulven and Tone Sutterud in Oslo

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.

Predator Alliance Norway is an anomaly in this area, a land inhabited by the most fervent advocates of culling – many of them farmers and hunters. Here, you pass cars with large stickers pronouncing “Real Men Shoot Wolves” to show support for six local poachers who were imprisoned for illegal hunting last year.

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…

Read the whole article here.

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