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The Environmental Advisory Council, which represents 20 non-governmental environmental organizations, is calling for a “zero limit” for the upcoming lynx hunting season. The invitation was sent in a letter to the SFS and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. The head of the council Juris Jātnieks explains that
Environmental representatives call for an end to lynx hunting, as there is still a lack of scientific data on the population of Latvia and the threats posed by lynx.
” Any limit must be based on an objective and reliable record of the state of the population as it really is. And at the moment, environmental organizations cannot gain real confidence in population data. In addition, despite the fact that lynxes are not actually hunted in the neighboring countries at the moment, we adhere to the opinion that the limits should be based on data, and not only on the desire to hunt, ” says Jātnieks.
The opinion of the Environmental Advisory Council was also heard at the November meeting of the working group convened by the SFS, but it was not supported. An order for the upcoming hunting season is planned to be prepared and announced this week. Also this year, lynx hunting will start in January, not December, and the quota is planned to be reduced. Last year it was 100 animals, this year it is planned to let 80 lynx hunt.
” We have enough data, yes, it is based on an invasive method or a study of hunted specimens, which is very detailed and provides information on the lynx population over time for us to justify that the lynx population is in good condition at the moment. This year, the State Forest Service is also working on a project to systematically survey hunting areas, determine various features of the lynx population according to a specific methodology, and together with Silava researchers we can determine the number of lynx that everyone is so interested in at the moment, ” explains Walter Lynx.
Last year, the lynx hunting limit was reduced for the first time, but out of the 100 allowed, 70 lynx were hunted. Hunters do not explain this by the declining population, but by the unfavorable winter conditions for hunting,
says Haralds Barviks, the head of the Latvian Hunters’ Association:
” For us, the lynx population is stable and growing, but last year the amount of hunted lynx was reduced by 30% and this year it will be halved compared to the hunting quota we had two years ago. Is it necessary? I think not from the point of view of the population, but we would rather be careful and reserve and then we will see what happens, because that research material is fully collected thanks to hunting, and then we will be able to draw scientific conclusions in two or three years. “
This year, the State Audit Office concluded in an audit report on the management of game species in Latvia that the data on the number of lynxes in Latvia are misleading, and questioned the hunting limits and monitoring. The State Audit Office also called for amendments to be made to the regulations in order to designate this species in Latvia as a specially protected, rather than limited-use protected species. The responsible ministry undertook to make changes by the summer of next year. However, it is also planned to evaluate the justification of this year’s hunting lynx quota, says Inga Vilka, a member of the State Audit Office.
Meanwhile, in October, the portal “manabalss.lv” also submitted a citizens’ initiative to ban lynx hunting in Latvia, and currently more than three and a half thousand signatures have been collected.