Stop the killing of the wolf cubs!

The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association cannot accept that the state continues to kill wolverine puppies.

The wolverine must, in the same way as other wildlife in Norway, be protected by breeding season protection.
The so-called decisions on withdrawal are also locked with regard to appeals, which is unacceptable. On 18 May 2022, the Norwegian Environmental Protection Association sent demands to the Ministry of Climate and the Environment in which we demand that the killings of wolverine puppies be stopped.

By: Ørjan Holm – political deputy leader

The wolverine – charmer in fur…

…or should it be 'murdered' already in the lair?

I think the first! And the more I learn about it, the happier I am that it exists in Norwegian nature. The wolverine is our largest marten and a charming tough guy. It lives in the mountains, on the tundra and in northern forest areas. An adult wolverine is approx. 1 meter long and can weigh up to 20 kg. These measurements make the wolverine the smallest of the "big four". But even though it is relatively small, it is able to kill prey that is significantly larger than itself, such as reindeer.

It is already known that the wolverine is primarily found in areas with wild and domesticated reindeer, which are also its main food in the winter. The wolverine is often called the "hyena of the north" because it is a typical scavenger. The wolf's Latin name, on the other hand, is Gulo yellow which means big restaurant. In many ways, this reflects the notion that the wolverine is a bloodthirsty animal that can eat unlimited amounts of food.

Up through the ages Many fairy tales have been made about bears and wolves. In contrast, there are few fairy tales that deal with the wolverine. This is probably due to the fact that the dark marten with a bushy tail was, in old superstition, seen as a mysterious animal that was associated with evil powers... and evil animals should not be depicted, nor mentioned by name. The wolverine can use many different prey and not least the remains from the other large predators' catch. Even though the wolverine is so small, with its powerful jaws it can easily crush and utilize the margin content of even the thickest bones in, for example, an elk carcass and it can eat frozen meat without any problem.

SMS: Send 'ENVIRONMENT' until 2030

The wolverine is also typical hoards and therefore often kills more than it eats. It uses the snow as its natural freezer. It quickly and easily digs the prey down and stores the surplus prey for later use. The wolverine often stores prey in a snowdrift, a stream bed, in a bog or a rock clock. The good sense of smell allows the wolverine to track down stored meat under deep layers of snow. A surplus of food for a short period is thereby utilized by the wolverine in an efficient and smart way. Investigations of the wolverine's stomach contents show that reindeer can make up as much as 80 per cent of the food intake. Small rodents actually come in second place.

Unfortunately, the wolverine also kills sheep and reindeer and therefore contribute to the conflict between the grazing industry and the predators. Carcasses with severe bite marks on the neck may be signs that wolverines have been there. How the wolverine interacts with the other predators and what significance these have for the wolverine's distribution and numbers is little investigated. But eventually many people have observed that the wolverine appears on carcasses that have been killed by wolves, bears or lynxes. The lynx and the wolverine are often in the same areas and it turns out that the wolverine benefits greatly from the lynx's carrion. This means that the wolverine takes fewer reindeer, while the lynx has to hunt prey more often.

The lynx would otherwise could return to their prey and consequently be full longer. This is particularly evident in tundra landscapes where the wolverine easily finds the lynx's prey in areas with dense forest/undergrowth. But the mountain fox also has a special and good use of the wolverine.

As the wolverine takes red foxes, it thereby removes a competitor from the arctic fox's food dish. In this way, it also ensures that a natural distance and balance between the two species is maintained. In addition, the wolverine also likes to leave some leftovers from its meal for the arctic fox. This help to the mountain fox is only one important thing of all that is the role of the wolverine in a functioning ecosystem.

The wolverine is listed as highly endangered on the national red list and as threatened on the global list. But in Norway, politically, you want fewer of them... The main justification is the consideration of the use of open pasture for sheep and the protection of the Sami reindeer herding industry. The Storting has laid down precise The main justification is the consideration of the use of open pasture for sheep and the protection of the Sami reindeer herding industry.

The Storting has set precise stock targets for all four large game species. For wolverines, a population target of 39 annual litters of puppies has been set. "This stock target is neither a minimum target nor a maximum target, which means that management must be arranged so that the stock at all times is as close as possible to the stock target."

A stock in three parts.

In Norway, wolverines are primarily found in the mountain areas along the national border with Sweden and Finland, from Sør-Trøndelag and northwards. There is a smaller population in central mountain areas further south in Norway.

The DNA results of collected excrement confirms previous assumptions from the Norwegian Institute for Natural Research that we have three divided populations of wolverines in Norway, which differ genetically from each other. There is a northern population in Troms, Finnmark and northern Finland, a southern population in southern Norway west of Østerdalen, and an eastern population north and east of Østerdalen.

Today there is relatively little exchange of individuals between the populations of wolverines in Norway, but the populations have grown together more in recent years.

Mating and pregnancy

Mating time in spring and summer is the only time of the year that male and female wolverines socialize. The male often visits the den as early as April to check if the female is willing to mate. The wolverine's total gestation period is ten months.

After fertilization the egg remains dormant. Only at the turn of the year does the egg attach to the uterus and develop further. The young are born in February – March, so the effective gestation period is 30-40 days. The phenomenon is called "delayed implantation".

Children and growing up

The delivery room is one pit dug by a bitch in a deep snowdrift, preferably near a large stone clock. From the pit, passages are dug to the food store, toilet and often to the clock itself. The den can therefore consist of an extensive corridor system.

Does the bitch get disturbed, she can move the cubs with her to a new den. If the food supply is good, she can stay in the den for many weeks, but she often leaves the den at night to hunt and seek out old food stores. The number of children varies. The litter can consist of 1-4 cubs, but two are most common. The children develop quickly. At birth, the young weigh only 100 grams and are completely white. In April/May, they resemble an adult wolverine in appearance, weigh around three kilos and have started playing outside the den opening.

Already 6-7 months old are the children independent of the mother. Mortality among young wolverines is high. They are rarely accepted in the activity areas of older wolverines and must therefore wander out to establish themselves in new areas.

… should it be murdered already in the den?
Hunting and administrative withdrawals...

After "withdrawal" of bitches and/or puppies from 9 dens, 54 cubs of wolverines were registered in Norway before the grazing season 2020. For that reason, permission was granted to cull 143 animals in the upcoming license cull period. 74 wolverines were felled.

It is license suspension which should be the normal form of felling to reduce damage that wolverines inflict on livestock and domesticated reindeer.

Hunting for wolverines has not been shown to be particularly effective. One reason could be the wolverine's way of life, another, the time of year the hunt takes place. But it also seems that hunting has less "status" among hunters and that there is greater interest and more prestige when hunting other species or other forms of hunting. I think this could be a weighty reason.

And even though the wolverine population has increased in recent years, we do not see the same development in documented and compensated losses caused by the wolverine on a national basis. The development here has been stable or declining. Then I remind you again that the last estimate of the number of wolverines was about 386 individuals (2021) - 74 were shot in the 2020/2021 license felling. 14 wolf pups were killed. The latter by so-called "extraordinary hiuttaks".

The Norwegian Environment Agency claims that "extraordinary withdrawals" of wolverines are necessary to reduce damage to livestock and domesticated reindeer. The reason is that the wolverine population is above the Storting's target and that hunting/licensing is not effective enough. The removals are carried out by the State Nature Inspectorate (SNO).
In parallel, they also carry out stock registration.

So what are these "extraordinary withdrawals" or the "hiuttaken" if you like? In short and brutally put, it means locating a wolverine den with cubs and culling/killing both mother and cubs. Wolverines are also taken out on an extraordinary basis using helicopters and snowmobiles.

The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association finds this form of "population regulation" both immoral/unethical and cruel.

Mother Wolverine and her cubs should absolutely be left alone. Animals should also not have to run for their lives and be pushed to the limit in fear of humans with "machines". Normal hunting should be the only thing allowed and even then the wolverine must be killed in an animal welfare-responsible manner.

The wolverine has its own value, it is an important scavenger and it must be present in its natural habitat and is then part of the ecological balance. The wolverine is also a rare and very exciting animal, which is an experience to see for people who find joy in nature.

The administration claims for its part that in the period March-May, removal of animals from breeding dens will be the most targeted and precise form of removal in relation to the objective of damage reduction in the current area. This is because animals that have permanent residence in the area are then safely removed. At the same time, it is admitted that "this form of withdrawal has a number of ethical challenges".

Read the Norwegian Environmental Protection Association's complaint to the Ministry of Climate and the Environment here:


Related posts