COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A small reindeer herder from the indigenous Sami community in the Norwegian Arctic on Thursday lost a much-publicized appeal with Norway’s top court over a ruling that he must cull 41 of his 116-strong herd.

Jovsset Ante Sara, who has twice successfully challenged an order to reduce the size of his herd, claimed he can’t make a living with that scale of slaughter.

The government appealed because its policy aims to prevent overgrazing on the tundra where Norway’s estimated reindeer population of 220,000 live.

Norway’s Supreme Court said Thursday that the cull order did not violate Sara’ rights.

“As I read it, the ruling doesn’t take into account the rights of the Sami people,” defense lawyer Trond Pedersen Biti told The Associated Press, adding they would appeal to the Human Rights Council, the U.N. body in Geneva, Switzerland, charged with promoting and protecting human rights.

Earlier this month, the herder’s sister Maret Anne Sara, drew attention to the case when hanging up a curtain made of 400 bullet-ridden reindeer skulls outside Norway’s parliament in Oslo.

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