OSLO, Norway: Norway was accused of authorizing the “mass slaughter” of its endangered wolf population Thursday after announcing that 47 of the predators would be killed by hunters.

The move, which follows previous efforts to control the population, was hailed by farmers but condemned by outraged environmental groups.

Only 65-68 wolves were registered last winter in Norway, according to the specialized body Rovdata, but their numbers will have increased after the birth of an unknown number of pups in April and May.

At least another 25 wolves were observed in the border region with neighboring Sweden last winter.

“This is pure mass slaughter,” blasted Nina Jensen, the head of the Norwegian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“We haven’t seen anything like this in almost 100 years, when the policy at the time was to exterminate all the big predators,” she added.

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