Norway lynx numbers low

Counts of lynx in the Norwegian wild are the lowest since 2004

Photo: dogrando / Flickr A Eurasian Lynx showing some teeth.

Photo: dogrando / Flickr
A Eurasian Lynx showing some teeth.

The Local

The Eurasian lynx is a wild cat native to Norway and Sweden as well as large swathes of Eastern Europe and Siberia. Its natural prey includes deer and foxes.

During the course of this summer, 9.5 family groups of lynx have been registered in wild predator regions including Vestfold, Buskerud, Telemark, and Aust-Agder. This constitutes a reduction of 6.5 family groups compared to last year, reports NRK.

“It’s a big decrease for just a one-year period,” Jørund A. Ruud, head of the regional Predator Management Committee (Rovviltnemnda), told the broadcaster.

Decreases in lynx numbers have also been measured in regions such as Oppland, Oslo, Akershus, and Østfold, giving an overall drop in numbers of 14 percent compared to last year, reports Rovdata. The number is also a full 20 percent lower than the target set by the Norwegian government for minimum desired numbers of lynx in the wild.

But Ruud told NRK that he was not concerned by the figures, attributing them to a combination of high quota, effective hunting, and a natural drop in population.

In some regions, where family groups have exceed 12, attempts were made to reduce lynx numbers by introducing larger hunting quotas.

“For many years we have had a viable and stable group population. I don’t think we need to dramatize an odd swing over the course of one year,” said Ruud.

Telemark Sheep and Goat (Telemark sau og geit) director Jon Aslak Austjore said that the lower Lynx numbers were good for other animal populations: “We are pleased to be at a level that Telemark’s sheep husbandry can live with,” Austjore said to NRK.

The sheep farmer told the network that he did not believe the lynx population was in danger and that the level should be kept close to that recommended by the government so that grazing animals are protected.

“We can live with the number of families there are now. But there are also a lot of other predators, so there are always new challenges,” he said.

But Sigrid Dahl of Telemark Friends of the Earth (Naturvernforbund) said that her association was concerned for the future of the lynxes. “When populations get so low it is hard to take into account the natural swings that always occur in numbers. We see it as deeply worrying that the [lynx] population is managed in this way,” she said to NRK.

This article was originally published on The Local.

It also appeared in the July 29, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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