The raven is in danger of extinction in Iceland, announced a surprising report by national broadcasting service Rúv last night. The chief of the pagan gods in the Ásatrú religion, Óðinn, was always accompanied by two ravens, Huginn and Muninn who would fly around the world to bring him news. Asked whether the raven is in danger of extinction, Skarphéðinsson replied, “Stocks have diminished steadily in the last few decades and if things continue this way it’s likely that ravens will almost disappear within the next few decades.”
The raven is a bird closely linked to Icelandic history, folklore and mythology. “The birds can cause damage to livestock and birdlife but it’s an anachronism that there is no limit on numbers on the species,” says ornithologist Kristinn Haukur Skarphéðinsson speaking to Rúv.
Most ravens are killed on or around rubbish tips, or around the nesting areas of Eider ducks. Over 3000 ravens are hunted every year, a figure which needs to be considerably limited according to the Institute of Natural History who will be making a formal suggestion to the government on the matter. Rúv reports that people are allowed to hunt ravens all year round.