Lynching the lynx

NORWEGIAN hunters have just been given a bonanza - they have been bestowed the right by the wildlife authorities to kill more lynx (wild cats) than ever before. Citing the need for keeping the sheep and reindeer population in check, the Norwegian wildlife authorities say that the lynx population needs to be curtailed.

The World Wide Fund, for Nature (WWF), however, disagrees. . According to Morten Jodal, WWF, Oslo, Norwegian sheep died of natural causes and less than five per cent fell prey to lynx attacks. Further, the sheep population was actually thriving because of government subsidies.

While in 1994, hunters could down 40 animals, last year they were allowed 54. And this year, hunters will be allowed a minimum of 79 lynx, said Jorund Braa, a senior officer at the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management. But "if we get the impression that the (lynx) population is larger than we thought while they are hunting, this may increase to 103", he added.