Norway has temporarily suspended wolf hunting after the country was taken to court by conservationists.
The World Wide Fund for Nature has taken the Norwegian state to court in an effort to get a change in the way the country controls its wolf population.
The ban, enforced by Oslo District Court, will stop all hunting in areas in Norway where wolves are not protected and comes into force immediately, said officials.
It comes into force as the hunting season has begun in Norway.
‘“Oslo District Court has taken an important decision by stopping the ongoing wolf hunt,’ said the WWF’s Ingrid Lomelde .
‘We are now looking forward to the case going to court, where judges will decide whether Norwegian wolf administration is in breach of Norwegian law and international obligations.’
Since the beginning of the hunting season
Five animals have been shot since the beginning of the season in the four counties in areas outside of zones in which wolves are protected by law, local media has reported.
The WWF argues that the animal should be completely protected and places on Norway’s own list of ‘critically endangered’ species.
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It is thought there are fewer than 100 wolves n Norway.
Norway had planned to cull some 47 of its remaining wolves.
Most of the wild animals are located in the south of the country, close to the Swedish border.
Proponents of wolf hunting say any ban could have adverse effects on food production.
The decision in Norway comes as the UK is embroiled in a political row over whether animals feel pain.
A bill in front of parliament, linked to Britain’s exit from the European Union, has prompted a row after the Conservatives were accused of voting down poroposals to accept animals are sentient beings.
Environment secretary Michael Gove has subsequently said this was a misconception and the government was looking at making UK law specifically recognising animal sentience.