Norway does a lot of things right – it's a major international donor, it has a robust social safety net, and it has invested heavily in renewable energy – but it gets something horribly wrong: wolves.
Writing for the Guardian, George Monbiot explains exactly what's at stake for Norway's wolves and the country as a whole this winter (emphasis is ours):
What I am about to relate cuts to the heart of Norway's image as a broadminded, liberal, green nation. It repudiates those advertisements emphasising the country's natural beauty and astonishing wildlife and suggests that the sensibilities of Norway's current political class are no more sophisticated than those of the frontiersmen of the wild west in the late 19th century.
Already, the situation of predators in Norway is grim. Just 1% of the country has been designated a "wolf zone", in which the animals are allowed to exist. But only three litters a year are permitted: once three pairs of wolves have bred, all the rest can be shot. There are currently just 25 wolves in the country. The hunting quota for this winter is 12. More than a century ago, before state bounties were paid for the killing of wolves, the population in Norway was more than 1,000.
As the government is aware, 25 – or 13 – is far from being a genetically viable population. Even if it were allowed to remain at this level, the wolves would eventually die out through inbreeding.And if that wasn't bad enough, there's a similarly dire situation in Sweden.
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