No Norwegian wolf packs left, warns WWF

Posted on January, 11 2002

Preliminary figures from WWF show that there are no longer any intact wolf packs in Norway following a cull last year.
Oslo, Norway - Less than a year after the Norwegian government's wolf massacre, the country's wolf population has been more than halved, while none of its packs are intact.

Last winter, there were a total of 28 all-Norwegian wolves and two intact family groups (packs with alpha male and female and cubs). Today, preliminary figures from WWF-Norway show that there are only 13 animals and no intact packs. As only the alpha couple in a pack reproduces, this could have grave consequences for the future of Norway's wolves.

"This is exactly what we warned about when we tried to stop the cull last winter," says Rasmus Hansson, Chief Executive Officer of WWF-Norway. "We told the resident government it would be irresponsible to commence with culling of as it had no scientific basis whatsoever to say that the extremely vulnerable wolf population could sustain a cull of that magnitude. Preliminary figures from the ongoing tracking, sadly shows that we were right."

Amongst the nine victims of the Norwegian authorities' helicopter and shotgun campaign last winter were the wolves of the Atndal pack. The other family group which was intact last winter, the Moss-Vaaler pack, is also in trouble as its alpha male has vanished. A cub from this pack has earlier been found unconscious and was put down, with tests later showing it had been poisoned.

"There is reason to fear that also the missing alpha male has been killed, but we do not know that for a fact," Rasmus Hansson says.

He adds that those pinning their hopes to the fact that the Graafjell alpha couple had cubs last summer, will be disappointed, as recent tracking shows that also these cubs have vanished.

"The new Norwegian government must now show that it — unlike its predecessor — lives up to its responsibility as manager of one of Europe's most vulnerable species. It must immediately put a stop to all plans of further culling," Rasmus Hansson, CEO of WWF-Norway demands.

For further information:
Rasmus Hansson