AbstractThe Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis has influenced the lives of people in rural areas since the beginning of Norwegian civilization. In the first known written sources about the species, during the Viking age, the goshawk symbolized heroism and bravery. Goshawks were historically connected to mysticism and superstition, as evidenced first in old runes and later in fairy tales and common adages. This paper reviews the scientific and ethical argumentation for the management strategy in that took place between 1845 and 1971, when the goshawk was considered a bounty species. At the start of this extermination period, a small number of influential scientists convinced the government to establish a bounty on goshawks that is dictated in hunting legislation from 1845, 1863 and 1899. From 1910 onward, the debate concerning the bounty policy became more diverse, broadening the discussion to include moralistic and conservational issues and finally leading to the protection of goshawks in 1971. Hunting legislation beginning the 1970s refined the utilitarian view of nature by including functional aspects of game species removing the distinction between “vermin” and “utility” animals in 1981. The goshawk has been listed on Norway’s Red List of Threatened Species since 1984. This review illuminates how scientific, aesthetical and ethical arguments were all interwoven in the policy and management for the Northern Goshawk over a relatively short historic timeframe.
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