When the sheep suffer on open pasture

The observations that have been made of bears recently must be accepted as observations of Norwegian fauna i
growth. Joyful! Photo: Arnfinn Nilsen

By: Ørjan Holm, Norwegian Environmental Protection Association – Political deputy, Regional leader North

The situation with getting raccoon bears into open pasture with sheep is not good. Sheep and lambs are also killed
great suffering. In such a situation, a quick felling of the bear is the best, as long as you know which animal
one hunts for.

Of the over 100,000 sheep (a few thousand in Troms) that disappear on open field pastures here to
country each year, only a small part is taken by predators. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority also admits this
their reports. Most of the sheep and lambs that disappear are killed for other reasons. The Fox
still killing lambs. With 2-part management and stock mapping down to individual level has
the grazing industry the best starting point. More grazing would in any case contribute to less loss. Guaranteed.

In recent weeks, there has been hectic activity among farmers, predator management and mayors. Several sheep had been killed by several bears in Bardu municipality. Last year, approx. 170 sheep, there of a litter with young. In this year's case, it was special as it involved several adult bears. Bardu is also relatively far outside the so-called core area for bears in Målselv municipality. What has happened in terms of the bear's presence outside the core area is not known. It is a well-known fact that Swedish reindeer owners have been actively scaring bears with air cannons in Dividalen. What else has happened? After many years of research, nothing extra has been found with bears outside the core area.

2-part management

The Storting decided in 2011 that future management of carnivores should take place with two-part management. The administration divided Norway into grazing-priority and predator-priority areas. In fact, the proposal came a few years earlier from the Norwegian Environment Protection Association v/the undersigned.

Below stock level

The state administrator in Troms and Finnmark gave 09.06.21 a felling permit for two bears in Bardu, Troms, after a few sheep had been taken. The NMF believes that this is a very low threshold for hunting brown bears, which are both highly threatened in the Norwegian fauna and where the population target is currently below the national population target both nationally and regionally. In Troms and Finnmark, the population target is set at 6 (6 annual juveniles). In 2020, it was less than half. We have a responsibility to take care of the bear. We cannot rely on immigration from Sweden. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency appealed the decision.

Inventory mapping

Rovdata carries out mapping of bears using DNA analyzes and over many years has obtained an overview of the population of bears in Norway. In Troms, according to predator data, there were 7 individuals before the 2 bears in Bardu were shot.

Political howler chorus

As expected, both mayor, Storting politician Sandra Borch and Minister of State Bollestad rushed forward in the matter. Here there was talk of failed bear management. There were far too many bears here. Where then? We have to trust Rovdata. Undocumented predators cannot be included in the management! It was probably this year's general election that triggered it?

Other causes of death

The majority of sheep and lambs on open pasture in Norway are killed by disease, ticks, animals that get stuck, are taken by stray dogs and foxes. The fox actually takes the lamb. NMF expects the same level of commitment from farmers, administration and politicians in the future when it comes to the animal suffering that no one dares to talk about: Non-predator-related deaths of sheep and lambs on open pasture.

Related posts