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King sparks controversy with wolf hunt comments

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King sparks controversy with wolf hunt comments
15:19 CEST+02:00
Remarks by King Carl Gustaf XVI in support of wolf hunting have generated a wave of concern from members of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

On Thursday, the King said to a group of journalists that he's not opposed to allowing the hunting of wolves in Sweden, citing concerns that the populations of the country's wolf pack could “explode”.

The comments resulted in a flood of calls from worried members to the Swedish chapter of WWF, for which the King serves as honourary chair, wanting to know if the King's comments reflected the views of the organization itself.

Wolves remain a protected species in Sweden with a pack size estimated to be around 200 wolves.

The WWF was quick to distance itself from the King's remarks, taking care to detail its view of the issue.

“It hasn't been well accepted and we don't agree with what he's said,” said the WWF's Tom Arnbom to the TT news agency.

“There is no risk for an explosion in the wolf pack. From an international perspective, we have relatively few wolves in the country.”

However, Arnbom didn't rule out the possibility of a wolf hunt if the conditions were right.

“It's very possible that there will be a wolf hunt in the future, but not as things stand right now. If we're going to have hunting, the wolf pack must be larger than it is now. Besides it must have a better genetic composition,” he said.

Sweden's main hunting association, Svenska Jägareförbundet, has long called for a removal of the wolves' protected status.

But any final decision on whether or not Swedish hunters would have a chance to point their guns toward a wolf would come from Sweden's environment minister Andreas Carlgren, who has responsibility for protecting the country's endangered species.

Carlgren's spokesperson Mattias Johansson told the Aftonbladet newspaper that the minister “cannot begin to discuss the culling of wolves”.

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