The Icelandic fox population currently counts around 10,000 animals. It has grown tenfold in the past 30 years but the growth doesn’t seem to impact the size of bird stocks, according to University of Iceland professor Páll Hersteinsson.
Geese. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
In the 2010 budget bill, the Ministry for the Environment intends to discontinue repayments to municipalities for fox and mink hunting, Morgunbladid reports.
The Eiderdown Farmer’s Association, the National Association of Sheep Farmers and others have protested the decision harshly, arguing that it can lead to a significant increase in foxes with serious consequences for the country’s biosphere. The protestors also doubt that much can be saved by canceling the repayments.
Hersteinsson explained that the growth of the fox population goes hand-in-hand with the growing number of birds. The number of fulmars, geese and other land birds has increased, providing plenty of food for foxes.
However, Hersteinsson pointed out that the increase of foxes is being limited with hunting and he cannot foresee what the impact on the birdlife would be if fox hunting were to be discontinued, but it would probably vary from one bird species to another.
Click here to read more about the arguments for fox hunting.