Let the already stressed and weak animals get the rest they need to get through the winter in the best possible condition. The wild reindeer must be managed on nature's terms and an ecological balance must therefore be recreated.
The "revolver management" must end!
Norway has an international responsibility to take care of the wild reindeer. We do this very poorly by continuing through the winter to shoot out genetically important animals and reduce the population to an extreme minimum. The reindeer need absolutely no more disturbing elements this winter. They are then at their weakest and their energy needs are greatest. The animals need rest!
To have said it: The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association is a supporter of knowledge-based management. As we see it, the knowledge that must be the basis is unfortunately lacking. There are 2 positive samples on Hardangervidda, out of 7,000 animals analyzed and 19 out of 2,500 euthanized animals in Nordfjella.
We believe this does not form the basis for the dramatic measures that are now being put on the table. No one can answer where the infection comes from, how it occurs or refute and explain all the stories people have told about reindeer with similar symptoms. Our claim is that CWD is a disease that has always existed in wild reindeer and that the reason it has been detected now is that it has been investigated for the first time.
We are fully aware of that that scrapie or CWD is a very dangerous/fatal disease for deer. Nevertheless, the slaughter of large bucks and "older" animals is completely reprehensible. Especially if one hopes to retain the necessary genetic variation and strengthen the restoration of the necessary ecological balance. The genetic material and dynamics in the herds will be significantly weakened/disturbed and perhaps to such an extent that the entire population will be threatened with extinction. The reindeer is near threatened according to the Norwegian Red List. The slaughter in Nordfjella has also shown us with all possible clarity that this method was extremely brutal and also not effective enough to "eradicate" CWD in the area.
It should be unnecessary to point it out, but we choose to do it anyway: The biggest and strongest bucks undoubtedly have the best genetic material. The big bucks must therefore be preserved and as a big buck on average only covers approx. 10 sims, then of course you have to take care of a large enough number of them. Of course, there must be enough younger bucks left to take over when the old big bucks' time is over. Furthermore, it is also the case that the most experienced Sims lead the packs. Their experience with regard to migration routes, grazing areas, dangers and calving areas is the key to the long-term survival of the herds.
Additional points for not using firearms as a management tool in areas where scurvy occurs.
NMF believes cases of scrapie occur spontaneously (sporadic Prion disease) and can occur anywhere, at any time. We are of the opinion that this disease has been present in nature since the dawn of time, a "primordial disease", which was not discovered until screening began specifically for this particular disease. It has already been concluded that the sick animal among the wild reindeer tribe on Hardangervidda was not infected by animals from Nordfjella before the tribe there was shot. Sporadic cases have also been discovered following the shooting in the same area, and also in moose in Selbu in 2016. The fact that there are different variants of the disease indicates that such diseases may spontaneously appear in more areas in the future.
The disease has a long incubation period of 1-2.5 years before the disease breaks out in an animal and becomes fatal.. This means that the disease's "death rate" in a population depends on how large the species' reproduction is. The winter hunt will of course stress the already weakened animals, prevent them from being able to graze, increase their energy consumption and weaken their reproductive capacity in the spring.
Nobody knows for sure what will happen if scrapie is allowed to spread in Norway. The effects of leprosy must be assessed in a 100-200 year perspective. If scrapie is allowed to develop freely, it is entirely possible that we will not have huntable populations of wild reindeer in the long term. In the worst case, we generally get little deer in isolated populations, which die out and are then recolonized by healthy deer. Such a state is likely in the United States in 100 years, at least for mule deer. The white-tailed deer has very high reproductive potential and will do better. Here, we are therefore talking about a hundred-year perspective, and where the uncertainty of the following for a stock is very large. Nature has its own methods of keeping populations viable and healthy even if some individuals become infected even if some individuals become ill. The experience from Nordfjella shows that there are more of the gene combinations of the wild reindeer that show greater resistance (less susceptible) to CWD than other gene combinations in the same population. This underpins the assumption that the reindeer have been exposed to this in the past in terms of evolution as well. It is only in recent years that testing has begun. Ref.: VKM Science committee for food and the environment - Report 2021-01 (chapter 2.8) (PDF)
To rebuild ecosystems with all its species – including apex predators – are among the main strategies to address the nature crisis. This was confirmed by the UN Nature Panel (2019), is one of 13 measures recommended by 15,000 environmental scientists in Bioscience (2017) and was repeated as one of the three most important strategies against the nature crisis in the UN-supported Chatham House report "Food system impacts on biodiversity loss" (2021). There is no scientific doubt that native species, including top predators, have an indisputable positive effect on the ecosystems in which they belong.
A nature management that goes against nature
Norwegian nature management is acting backward and out of step with advice from both Norwegian and international nature experts. Your advice and concerns are simply being neglected! Norway MUST start rebuilding the natural ecosystem that the wild reindeer need as soon as possible. Human influence must be limited so that the wild reindeer's natural lifestyle and migration pattern become possible again.
The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association has respected the extraordinary release that has taken place, although we believe that the population level on Hardangervidda is now too low. We therefore believe that enough is enough. The wild reindeer on Hardangervidda must not be shot at this winter, either on foot, on skis, by helicopter or snowmobile. Such state-sponsored hunting will then trigger actions from the Norwegian Environment Protection Association.