According to the Environment Agency of Iceland, hunting Arctic fox no longer serves its purpose. It used to be a way of protecting sheep, but nowadays it has become a habit or a paid sport. Last year set a new record for hunting, reports Fréttablaðið.
The agency says that the preconditions for fox hunting are breached due to changes in agriculture, and new arrangements considering hunting should be developed. More than 56,000 foxes have been hunted in the past decade, and the cost of that for the state and municipalities is estimated at almost a billion ISK.
Steinar Rafn Beck Baldursson, a specialist in hunting management at the Environment Agency of Iceland, says that they haven’t received reports of livestock being harmed by the foxes. He thinks that a possible reason for the foxes not being as big of a threat anymore is that the sheep are not allowed outside when they are carrying. “In the past, foxes hunted newborn lambs or chased sheep when they were carrying,” he explains.
Municipalities are obligated to pay fox hunters a certain amount for each fox they catch. In 2020, the cost for the municipalities was almost 134 million ISK.
Because there’s little to no evidence of foxes being harmful for the sheep, critical discussions about hunting them have risen. The Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, submitted a bill to amend the hunting legislation, although it did not pass the parliament. However, a management and protection plan for the fox has been established.
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