Eagle culling stalling and politicians are frustrated.

l296gzzf9FedmzZ5Ssunpgt7SJpMtWvoEMu60-d7f99Q.jpgFOTO: LINDA BJØRGAN / NRK
One year and one month later, still no eagle culling has taken place. We have all waited in frustration for lack of public information on what is really going on, has the culling started?

Recent information reviles that there has been ongoing gathering of documentation that has been a staller for the project, and politicians are getting frustrated as it is simply not going fast enough for them.

The stall is actually thanks to Norway’s Climate and Environmental Minister Vidar Helgesen, he has not granted the final ‘yes’ to put the project into action. They are using time for people to collect data on eagle attacks and population, second half is the cull, which they hope to set into action in 2018.

There is a new hearing on the case on September 4th.

For more details on the golden eagle case, please cheack previous posts on the blog or check at Bird Life Norway.

Info via NRK


Sheep farmers tired of golden eagles

Early this summer the Norwegian Parlament approved a culling of golden eagles in Norway. Why? In favor of livestock economy.

However, this does not stop here. Ever since the rise of the eagle population, farmers have been the largest threat for them, claming them to be too many and out of control. There are laws for taking out eagles doing damage, but just now farmers want to take matters in their own hands by using necessity, meaning a way of justification for breaking the law. How will they do that? They have somehow managed to claim a no flight zone under 35 meter above ground level for eagles in their municipality. Giving them, or so they think, justification to kill an eagle before a real attack. In the end of the article it becomes clear that Fitjar sheep and goats society actually promoto others to use necessity as a false claim as a way to kill an eagle, because you can technically get away with illegal killing..

I want to spread this information to make people aware of the bad predator politics and relationships in Norway, and am afraid this is just the top of the ice berg we will be hearing in near future regarding ways of culling golden eagles across the entire country. It is already documentet in a bird ringing atlas that only 5% of golden eagles die of natural causes in Norway, and that 47% are shoot, meaning illegal killing is a concerning problem. Future golden eagle population will start to decline within the next 30 years if the eagles do not get a stable production of eggs and chicks. The only concern made by political representatives in Norway, is that the regulated population will stick to the estimated goal, and not break any international conventions. They say that, but what will actually happen within the future might in fact result in serious conservation issuses. And there is still too little focus on eagle predation and understanding golden eagle behavior in Norway.

Please read the translated version below:

Information from Sunnhordaland newspaper below. Photo by Jan Rabben.

”The golden eagle takes lambs in Fitjar” is the headline of the article, and continues: Fitjar sheep and goats have decided on a complete flight restriction zone in the  entire municipality.

With immediate effect from today Fitjar sheep and goats have introduced a ‘no flight zone’ for golden eagles that fly below 35 meters above ground level. Golden eagles that attack lambs will be killed without any advance notice.

In Fitjar there is at least one eagle pair that has specialized in taking lambs. The photo in the article (above) is from the eagle’s nest this summer, and shows that the eagles have brought lambs to the nest many times. (?)

Fitja sheep and goats wish to live alongside nature, where also the golden eagle can obtain its important role. However, we cannot accept that certain individuals manage to destory the foundation of managing livestock. With the focus on animal welfare we cannot accept that the pain and agony inflicted on the lambs by the eagle. We have a joined responsibility to uphold this. Eagle problems has been a massive media case for several years.

Showing (…) to posts in the local newspaper ‘from one sheep farmer in Bømlo . The authority has received so much information on the case,  that there is no longer doubt that it is the eagle that is behind this. Getting approved lisences has been sought after, but without result . Sheep farmers sit with binders full of papers without getting any solutions for solving the case problem. Fitjar sheep and goats urge now that sheep farmers resolve those problem locally and on a low level without involving any kind of bureaucracy. The Supreme Court gave in 2014 a sheep farmer support and approval of using necessity if predators attacked sheep or lambs . It is this law we now want to make full use off.

Sheep farmers must know that to use necessity, it is restricted to these situations:

* Killing can only happen if predators chase, is about to attack or is attacking livestock, reindeer , pigs , dogs and poultry.

* There is a demand for a clear and objective understanding for why the predator is attacking . Objectively speaking the attack is over when the animal ( ex. sheep)is dead . The necessity may therefore only be executed as long as the attacked animal ( ex. sheep) is alive.

With these criteria at base, you have a good starting point to be absolved in a subsequent criminal proceeding. After killing an eagle with necessity you must immediately notify the police. Here you will get first hand priority.  

This can still work as a deterrent, but rememeber that you acted out of necessity for your animals and your responsibilities for animal welfare . Fitjar sheep and goats want to help each sheep farmer who needs help in a demanding investigation . It is hard to stand alone against state power with all the resources accessible .

End of article

Rise and fall of the Golden Eagle in Norway

If you have not heard it yet, Norway has just this month approved to cull golden eagles as a pilot project. Why? A human-predator conflict, livestock farmers for sheep- and reindeer have worked to get an approved cull as they fear the golden eagle for undocumented reasons. Golden eagles take the same amount of livestock as in Finland, resulting in between 2-4% which has been registered as acceptable. It is of course sad if a farmer loses an animal, but they get compensation when they can document predation. However, it is difficult to say if these few prosent of dead animals are killed by the eagles or just that they eat these carcasses. Eagles happily clean up an aleady dead animal just like a vulture naturally would do. (Text continues below). Photo via BirdLife Norwaykongeorn

So how can the Norwegian Parlament approve the culling of at least 200 golden eagles? The golden eagle has been protected by law, togheter with other predators, since 1968. There is already a law that states it is possible to take out a predator if there is sufficient documentation that it has become a returning problem. This level of documentation is now withdrawn, giving room for shooting golden eagles before they even attack. It will be allowed to shoot eagles in Northern Norway before regular hunting season. This can hurt golden eagle populations as well, because it can effect the survival of the chicks of breeding pairs. Farmers let their animals give birth outside in May, which is the month registered with most losses. There is a huge lack of insight amongst politicians about predators and raptors, and expert advices from ornithologists is ignored. Even the latest of scientific data has not yet been published by NINA, and in general a bad way to handle a case regarding wildlife management; this is culling. Culling in favor of business tied to sheep and reindeer meat. BildLife has already argued that shooting eagles will not have an impact on the loss of animals, but do they listen?

What can you do? BirdLife Norway is fighting to stop the culling, please sign to show your support against the killing. The golden eagles had a huge bounce back to nature after the predator persecution in Norway that started in 1845, killing over 100.000 golden ealges and sea eagles  before the final protecton was set into action in 1968. Both of these eagles have had a success story regarding conservation situations, but their growing numbers seem to also be their downfall. Anything considered a competition or out of human control can also be looked upon as a pest. And the golden eagle, once adorened in Norse warrior ideology, is now marked as a pest by the government by all the wrong reasons.

I support the protection of all raptors, from the urban peregrines to the shy goshawk and to the now new ‘big, bad wolf’ the golden eagle. Education is key to understand situations, from both sides, but this case is one sided. What about giving guidelines to how and when to release livestock, or, reintroduce sheperds. As the big hunt to kill predators in Norway started over a hundred years ago, there were so few predators left, that farmers started to let there animals walk free. What kind of an animal welfare is this; sheep get stuck, fall down form hills and die while giving birth to lambs. There is so much that can be done than opening a cull.

Opening culling of golden eagles is a huge disaster, and I am afraid about the consequences this will have for the future population.

If you want to support my side campaing for BirdLife on protecting the golden ealges, please sign here.