Swedish courts on Wednesday authorised the culling of 14 wolves pending a top court's decision on the legality of hunting an animal protected under European law.
The legal uncertainty surrounding wolf hunting will last until the Supreme Administrative Court definitively settles the issue, although a date for a ruling has not yet been set.
The temporary ruling allows for the killing of 14 wolves in two regions in the hunting season running from January 2 to February 15, far fewer than the 46 animals in five regions originally planned.
Sweden's Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the wolf population stands at just over 400, and recommends it be kept at that level through regulated hunting, or culling.
Hunters have complained that wolves have been decimating the stocks of other game and menacing hunting dogs in rural parts of the country.
They also say that many of the wolves they killed had been in good health, which shows that the species, considered extinct in the 1970s, has made a good recovery in Sweden.
The back-and-forth battle saw Sweden resume wolf hunting in 2010 and 2011, leading to a protest by the European Commission over the country's hunting quota policy.
For the 2016 season, three parallel proceedings were launched, with various rulings from different courts.
Explore further: Swedish courts temporarily ban wolf hunting