Environmentalists pledge to stop Swedish wolf hunt

December 20, 2013 by Tom Sullivan
A female wolf weighing 39.5 kg lies on the snow, surrounded by hunters, after being shot during a wolf hunt near Kristinehamn, Sweden on January 2, 2010

Swedish environmental groups on Friday vowed to block plans to cull wolves in controversial licensed hunts aimed at keeping their numbers down and potentially cutting the wolf population in half.

The first hunt is scheduled for February 1, 2014 with a target of 30 and will be the first licensed wolf hunt since 2011.

"We will appeal, we stopped it last time," Mikael Karlsson from the Swedish Society for Natural Conservation (SNCC) told AFP, referring to a court decision in February which stopped the cull of 16 inbred wolves and ruled that hunts were not the right method.

But since then the government has argued that the wolf population has increased and that licensed hunts are needed to protect livestock and increase public support for maintaining wolves in the wild.

"Sweden has never had so many large predators as now. That's good news for everyone who works to protect biodiversity," Environment Minister Lena Ek said in a statement at the launch of its new wildlife policy.

"But it means we have to take into account people who live and work in areas with a concentration of predators."

Under the new policy Sweden's wolf population could be reduced to 170 from the current level of 350 to 400.

A wolf pictured in a the pen at Kolmarden Wildlife Park, in Norrköping, eastern Sweden, on June 18, 2012

Environmentalists say that is too few to ensure their survival and claim that Sweden is violating European Union conservation laws.

"It's deplorable that the government is consciously undermining the whole EU legal system that should protect endangered species," Tom Arnbom, an expert on at Swedish WWF, said in a statement.

The European Commission has threatened Sweden with legal action over the licensed hunts in the past and Swedish activists believe it will back up their case again.

"There is no scientific basis for these figures... It's a purely political decision," said Karlsson, arguing that the government fears losing votes in rural areas targeted by the pro-hunting Sweden Democrats party.

However, the new targets do not go far enough for Sweden's hunting lobby which said that killing 30 wolves in February will not keep the growth of the population in check and that its numbers should be reduced to at least 170.

"We think grey wolves in Sweden should not be in the wild... they should be kept behind fences," said Johan Bostroem from the National Association of Huntsmen, adding that there is no longer enough space for wolves and people to co-exist in parts of Sweden.

"They cause a lot of problems... and too much destruction of sheep and cattle."

Explore further: Sweden allows first wolf hunt in 45 years

Related Stories

Sweden allows first wolf hunt in 45 years

December 2, 2009

Sweden will this winter allow its first wolf hunt in 45 years following a decision by the Scandinavian country's parliament to limit their number, authorities said on Wednesday.

Controversial Swedish wolf hunt ends, one escapes

February 16, 2011

Sweden's controversial wolf hunt, which has sparked widespread criticism from environmentalists and legal action from the European Commission, ended with hunters failing to cull one of the 20 animals in the quota, officials ...

Sweden resumes wolf hunt despite controversy

January 31, 2013

Sweden is to resume its wolf hunt in what authorities have described as a bid to limit inbreeding and maintain healthy stocks, but environmentalists argued Thursday that the hunt violates EU law.

Recommended for you

Winter season reverses outcome of fruit fly reproduction

November 24, 2015

Male fruit flies could find their chances of fathering offspring radically reduced if they are last in the queue to mate with promiscuous females before winter arrives, according to new University of Liverpool research.

New insight into leaf shape diversity

November 24, 2015

Many of us probably remember the punnett squares by which we were introduced to the idea of genetic inheritance in school: a dominant allele in each of my brown-eyed parents hides a recessive allele that explains my blue ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.