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Thursday, 8 March, 2001, 20:02 GMT
Wounded wolf reignites cull row
Wolf
The badly injured wolf is being pursued by a helicopter
Government hunters are pursuing a badly wounded wolf as they carry out a controversial cull in southern Norway.


I think everyone agrees that the best thing now is to put the wolf out of its misery

Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management
They shot and injured the wolf but did not manage to kill it and they are now chasing it through the snow with trackers, dogs and a helicopter.

So far hunters have killed four of the nine wolves, which the government has decided to cull.

The hunt has caused outcry amongst environmentalists who say it will obliterate an already small wolf population.

Many are camping out in the region where the hunt is taking place in an attempt to disrupt it.

But the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management has called on them to stay out of the hunt area.

"I think everyone agrees that the best thing now is to put the wolf out of its misery," said spokesman Jostein Sandvik.

Cross-border row

About 100 wolves are believed to be living in remote forests and fjord regions.

The species is endangered in Europe but the Norwegian authorities have given hunters until 6 April to kill the animals, which were blamed for the deaths of more than 600 sheep last year.

The authorities in neighbouring Sweden, which co-operates with Norway to manage the wolf population along the common border, are vehemently opposed to the plan.

But the Norwegian Government says wolf packs are growing too fast and says the wolves in question must be shot because they have moved into a valley outside the zone designated for them.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) recently put at between 51 and 80 the number of wolves in the area, far short of the 500 it says are necessary for the species to be viable.

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See also:

11 Feb 01 | Europe
Snow hampers Norway wolf cull
24 Feb 00 | Europe
Bringing wolves back to Sweden
31 Jul 99 | Europe
Wolf worries in French Alps
25 Apr 00 | Sci/Tech
Wolves find haven in Italy
19 Feb 01 | Europe
First Norwegian wolf culled
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