The EU’s top court has today upheld strict protection rules set out in the EU Habitats Directive which national authorities should follow in order to stop the capture and killing of endangered species in the wild.
The case was referred to the EU Court of Justice by the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court after an NGO challenged a decision to give permission to hunters to kill seven wolves – despite the wolf population in Finland falling far below healthy levels. Wolves are a protected species in Finland after being driven to the brink of extinction by hunting, poaching and habitat loss.
A healthy level is scientifically defined as at least 25 family packs, which means around 300–500 wolves depending on the year and season. As of March 2019, there were only 185–205 wolves in Finland.
The EEB welcomes today’s judgement.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe’s largest network of environmental citizens’ groups with 150 member organisations in more than 30 countries.
Sergiy Moroz, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Biodiversity and Water, said:
“In this case the wolf population in Finland is simply not big enough to justify issuing permits to kill. The court has today reconfirmed that hunting should only be allowed under very strict conditions. With the nature crisis we are facing around the world, the importance of upholding the EU’s strict nature protection rules has never been greater.”