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Swedes kill 20 wolves in newly sanctioned hunt

TT/AFP/The Local · 3 Jan 2010, 09:25

Published: 03 Jan 2010 09:25 GMT+01:00

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This was Sweden's first government sanctioned wolf hunt in 45 years.

The Swedish environmental authority had issued permits for 27 of the animals to be killed between January 2 and February 15 in five central and southwestern regions.

The Swedish Parliament decided in October to limit the wolf population to a maximum of 210 and 20 packs for the next five years.

The wolf population has grown steadily from near zero in the 1970s and poses a problem for farmers, who lose livestock in attacks. They are also increasingly seen in urban areas including suburbs of Stockholm.

Sheep farmer Kenneth Holmstrom told Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter that he had lost 32 sheep in 2005 in just two wolf attacks.

"The wolf has the right to exist in the forests and in the fields but it must be better controlled," he said.

"It does not have a natural enemy and it multiplies quickly."

Swedish conservation groups have objected the hunt violates European Union legislation on species and habitats.

There were about 150 wolves in Sweden in 2005. The number rose to between 182 and 217 last winter and more cubs produced since then, according to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Story continues below…

Niklas Wykman, chairman of the Moderate Party youth association, has also spoken out against the Moderate-led policy permitting the hunt.

He claims that the government wants to attract voters “by allowing the killing” but in actuality it has “fallen victim to the false arguments of the hunter lobby.”

“Along with the 22 wolves that have been shot, we have lost credibility when it comes to protection of biological diversity. Now that we have wiped out 10 percent of our wolf population, what are we going to say when India does the same with tigers, Japan with whales or Australia with white sharks,” Wykman wrote in an editorial on the politikerbloggen.se website.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:45 January 3, 2010 by Hagen
I am saddened to hear that the Woves have been shot; but far better to shoot them than to use poisons, which is a really nasty way to cull a species.
11:52 January 3, 2010 by RoyceD
I would like to say I am surprised with Sweden that its citizens would sit by and allow this to happen. But I cant.
13:05 January 3, 2010 by Great Scott
I believe Sweden had suffered very much in the past with the problem of wolves. Not only did they kill livestock, but many children who where out playing with friends, where often killed by packs of wolves.

So are you now so surprised.
13:11 January 3, 2010 by moaca
What I dont understand is the statement that wolves multiply quickly. This is a contradiction to the fact that there were 0 wolves in 1970. FOURTY years later we now see 270 wolves?? That means on average 6.75 wolves were born each year. How can this be to much in a country that has more nature then most other european countries?

I think this is more of a political agenda. The need to kill of 10% of an entire animal population is rather absurd and does not justify the reasons mentioned. Of course it is not nice when a farmer loses a lot of sheep to the wolves, but on the other hand, what measures did he take to prevent this to happen? How many sheep do we have in Sweden? The wolve is still an endangered species so it seems more logical that the farmers get compensated for wolve attacks which I am sure are not an everyday occurance. When will we ever learn to live together with these shy, social and gentle animals?

As far as the hunters are concerned, they just want to get a higher status amongs their own. To be one of the few that managed to shoot a wolve is something they can brag about for a long time to come. Its just another trophy, another triumph.

And the wolve has the most fierce natural enemy of all, the human being!!

Nothing more selfish, cruel, greedy and short sighted. No empathy and no consideration whatsoever as far as nature goes. Just look around the state of our world. So to state that this poor creature doesnt have enemies is sticking your head in the sand.

We are a fine species indeed. NOT!
13:12 January 3, 2010 by Aussie_Downunder
What about great whites eh?
13:24 January 3, 2010 by moaca
Great Scott, just to respond to your comment, please do your research a bit better. Wolves do NOT attack children out playing as they avoid humans to the best of their ability. If you check all deaths by wolve attacks over Europe for the past couple of hundred years you will find that IF a wolve had attacked human beings they had rabies, which was rather common hundred of years ago (and still today in some countries).

For the past 60 years only 5 deaths by wolve attacks were recoreded in Europe and they had all to do with this decease!

The big bad wolve image is made up through the centuries by ignorance and superstition. We know a lot more about this creature then we did in the dark ages, so to write down what you did is not based on anything more then what you THINK might have happened.

I am surprised to see that still today there are people who think wolves will come out of the woods to kill them or their children. Believe me, humans are not on their menu. We are not as tasty as deer!
14:01 January 3, 2010 by diegoveggie
i have a better idea. why not put all these sub humans called hunters together and hunt them instead? i vote for that. oh, and the politicians that authorize such barbaric act, too..
14:09 January 3, 2010 by Frobobbles
A densely populated continental country like Poland has several orders of magnitude larger primeval forests than Sweden, and several times more wolves, who are protected.

The problem here is that Sweden looks like having a lot of nature, but it is all well tended grounds for forestry etc.

The simple solution would be to leave some areas for nature to breathe, but at the same time of course NOT have wolves in the Stockholm suburbs.

Swedes, out of all Europeans, do not understand such a simple thing.

That explains how Rumania easily can have 4000 wolves in just one mountain range, while 250 wolves are considered 'too many' for the whole of Sweden.
16:05 January 3, 2010 by Redbee
This is a sad article and doesn't show the Swedish Government or the souless hunters in a good light .We as humans are destoying wildlife and habitats at an alarming rate , this may eventually bring about our own demise because we are the most destructive species on this earth .
16:10 January 3, 2010 by mirability
"The problem here is that Sweden looks like having a lot of nature, but it is all well tended grounds for forestry etc. "

Very true, but I'm not sure that is a problem. Swedish people have unparalleled access to nature and benefit from it very much, whereas here in the US we have millions of acres of nearly untouched wilderness that the average American, who is obese, never sets foot in.

This wilderness principle, furthermore, was one of the rationals for pushing out Native Americans and destroying their way of life so we could have some lovely parks.

Pigs are smarter than wolves, where is all the outrage for all the bacon Swedes eat? Oh, maybe it's not OK to kill wolves because they are majestic or some such nonsense.

People who are outraged with this should pool their money to buy land for the wolves.
16:19 January 3, 2010 by Sarek
Why didn't they relocate these wolves to places where they are required???? :-(
19:01 January 3, 2010 by hjoian
typical over-reaction...no surprise. One man loses 35 sheep of very little value ( i was in the farm trade so know what stock are worth) and so 10% of a rare species has to be shot. Maybe its time we started to cull humans too.....
19:10 January 3, 2010 by Great Scott
Moaca it is not I that should do any research, it is you, looking back over the last 500 years, Europe has suffered many child deaths caused by packs of hungry wolves.

Just search "wolves killing children sweden"

Quote "For the past 60 years only 5 deaths by wolve attacks were recoreded in Europe and they had all to do with this decease!"

That is 5 deaths too many, I am sure that if a person close to you had been killed or injured by wolves, you would think again.

A hungry wolf will stop at nothing to find food and that includes humans.

It must also recognized what purpose do wolves have?
20:02 January 3, 2010 by johnsorel
@ Great Scott:

You asked what purpose do wolves have? To continue with such inane logic I would ask:

What purpose to moose have? They kill a lot of Swedes each year.

What purpose do seagulls have?

What purpose do wolverines have?

What purpose do squirrels have?
20:10 January 3, 2010 by moaca
Great Scott, the answer to your question as to what purpose wolves have is that they contribute in the chain of nature with regards to take out sick or injured other animals. They are also scavengers which translates in to the garbage man of nature.

My next question would obviously be, what purpose do humans serve?

Except for exterminating almost everything that lives on this planet. You seem to me to be a prime example of this as you cannot even understand that every animal, plant etc has a specific purpose in the complexity of nature on earth.

Us humans are just starting to realise this and are now racing against time to try and save what we destroyed in the first place.

And a hungry wolf does still not hunt for humans you dipstick! they hunt for the weakest animal. WE ARE NOT ON THEIR MENU.

Of course in the past somebody might have been killed by wolves, and by deer, and by moose, and by buffallo and by bear and lunx. So what is the purpose of them we might ask? Perhaps we should wipe out all species on this planet to ensure no human being get killed??

Let my guess, are you a hunter?

Wouldnt surprise me as you do not seem to be capable of looking at the bigger picture. How many wolves have we slaughtered the last 100 years and how many people were attacked in the same period?? I rest my case. My point is that humans can get killed, whether it is via a car accident or getting in the way of some wild animal. I personally think that any of my kids being attacked and eaten by a wolf is one chance in a biljon, simply because there are not many wolves around to start with. In fact, do you know how many people get killed by their livestock? The chance of them getting shot by another person is far more likely.

So Great Scott, I wouldnt worry to much about the man eating wolves, I would instead be very very afraid of the human rase! Or cows.
20:12 January 3, 2010 by wolflover
Great Scott,

Do you live in Sweden? I guess you even don't know how to spell to the country!

No human being in Sweden has been killed by a wolf since 1821. But many Sweden farmers and hunters hate the wolf and they do anything they can to get rid of it. A lot of them would be happy if the wolf didn't exist at all. I know hunters that even if they never have seen a wolf hate it. The wolf now...what is next? The eagle, the bear or any other predator.

We have a responsibility for our predators!
20:17 January 3, 2010 by calebian22
Good for Sweden. Support the farmers.
20:21 January 3, 2010 by wolflover

Another farmer/hunter living in Sweden... ;)
20:33 January 3, 2010 by vladd777
Killing an animal with a high powered rifle is hardly what one can call 'hunting'!

What a lot of selfish idiots!!
20:45 January 3, 2010 by Great Scott

Great Scott,

Do you live in Sweden? I guess you even don't know how to spell to the country!

Let me guess, did you mean name?


@ Great Scott:

You asked what purpose do wolves have? To continue with such inane logic I would ask:

What purpose to moose have? They kill a lot of Swedes each year.

They do not go in search of humans, humans get in their way way.

O what a load of city toffs writing here, do you actually know where the countryside is. Probably the only thing you know about the nature is what you have read in books or watched on the TV.

Am I a hunter no, do I think wolves are threat to humans yes, do I think they are threat to farmers livestock yes, do think wolves do anything for the nature no.

Next thing you will be telling me is, you all love Rottweiler's and everyone should have one as a family pet.

Bring on global warming; you know that's the thing that is making northern Europe freeze at the moment.
20:47 January 3, 2010 by wolflover
For an example: More than 100(!) hunters surrounded 8 wolves and blocked their way out to freedom. They had no possibility to escape. Imagine the panic in the wolves eyes! Except for 3 wolves in this pack they they shot the Alpha male...
21:13 January 3, 2010 by moaca
Wolflover, I think that Great Scott is rattling everybody's cage here. He clearly enjoys our reactions to his stupid remarks. I think he is the city toff as he certainly acts like one. Bring on global warming?

I have had German Alsatians for 20 years as pets, and I had 2 small children at the time. Once you understand how wolves/dogs function then you can easily have a dog as a pet. Not keen on Rottweilers, but then again I dont care much for this type of dog, I prefer dogs that actually resemble their anceistor the wolf. And I have always protected THE DOG from the kids! Not the other way around. But then again, I dont think people should have a dog unless they understand their ways and are dominant enough to stand above them. This being US as the ALFA male or in my case female.

O and yes I do know a bit or 2 about nature actually and I think Wolflover does as well, How about you? How often are you in the wild? Glad to read that you are not a hunter, shame that want to hang on to 17th century attitudes.

As I said, the chance you being killed by your own livestock is far larger then being killed by a wolf. Just check the statistics.
21:28 January 3, 2010 by wolflover
Thank you moaca and very well written! :)
21:46 January 3, 2010 by Investor612
Who knows better about how to manage a wildlife population for its own health, the health of the prey species, and the overall environment?

Is it emotional urban animal rights activists who "care" or highly educated professional wildlife managers?

You want a species to thrive? Declare it a game species. Sportsmen and women demand, contribute to, and get effective wildlife management that ensures the health of wildlife populations.
23:05 January 3, 2010 by J Jack
Shame this Scott guy is getting so much black ink after winding you all up. If Swedish women were not busy emasculating their men in a web of Feministic dominance, the men would not feel the desire to return to 'The Hunt'. And since we banned smoking in pubs, the guys can't even enjoy a stor stark without coming home smelling like .. well .. clean. It's got nothing to do with guns and wolves. It's all about getting down and dirty in a masculine tradition that goes back to when we lived in caves. There are alternatives to this pointless killing, like move to Finland and do it there instead where no one complains as much.
00:27 January 4, 2010 by bira
Wow! Great Scott is obviously not particularly great nor bright. "Wolves have no purpose", I suppose no apex species have any value by your estimation if they pose any threat to humans. And the argument that five deaths over x number of years are five too many and that this justifies killing off a species is potentially the most ignorant thing ever put in words. Humans kill how many other humans every year? By your logic we should exterminate ourselves. Get a clue, apex species are extremely important to the health of other species as nature is (well used to be until our interference) a system of balance. Wolves, for example, mainly kill old and weak moose and deer and keep such heard sizes in check. When they don't, humans have to which is partly why we hunt these days. Being a hunter myself I don't agree with the anti-hunter sentiments here by others because I do eat what I kill. Unless you are a vegetarian, you shouldn't cast stones at hunters; at least we did not raise an animal in captivity with its only purpose being to be killed in order to be placed on your table. Regardless, I don't agree with the Swedish government allowing this hunt when there are only 200 wolves in the country. Wolves will certainly travel great distances and migrate south but rather than hunting these animals, they should be captured and relocated. Great Scott, obviously your comments are intended to rile people up, but just as you question what purpose the wolf serves, what purpose do YOU serve?
02:03 January 4, 2010 by Mack
This whole cull seems stupid... 270 wolves in a country the size of Sweden. Seem to remember a lot of comments from Sweden on the seal hunt in Canada... these seals number in the millions... hypocrites.

Cougars and bears are far more deadly to humans. I still have scars from a cougar that hunted me a couple of months ago :-)
02:39 January 4, 2010 by Da Goat
I notice the wolf lovers keep Alsatians, I once had one and all it was good for was eating and fouling my garden with large smelly sausages so I "traded it in for a kelpie which is many times better and smarter!

A better solution would be to not hunt the wolves leave them out there, just blow them away if they visit your suburb or farm that way both sides of this argument would be happy, unfortunately the wolves would be soon extinct as they are too stupid to stay away from fast food and it is us that supply cheap food so they do come in to us.

Is Sweden really large enough to keep wolves in the wild ? or will they want to live in our pocket?
06:50 January 4, 2010 by lingonberrie
I am all for culling certain of the human species, and the more that I read the comments on the blogs and the forums the more convinced I am that the culling is necessary.
07:39 January 4, 2010 by xavidx
The wolf has no natural enemy. So if we let them grow not only are they going to cause problems for farmers. But they may kill all the deer or other animals living in the same habitat as them if their numbers get to big. Relocating might have been a better solution but the fact of the matter is, is that there is an balance that needs to be kept otherwise there can be a big shift in the balance of Swedens wildlife ecosystem.

Sweden probably looks at many different species living in Sweden and when one of them gets to large or to small they will try do something about it. Nothing strange about that in my opinion. Shooting them is better then using other brutal methods such as posioned meat or something like that.
08:36 January 4, 2010 by jonssonp
shoot and shut up
10:37 January 4, 2010 by calebian22
I love how everyone discounts farmer's losses as insignificant. City slickers, gotta love 'em!
20:02 January 4, 2010 by Henckel
Read J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" or "Lord of the Rings" and see what he thought of wolves!!!
21:41 January 4, 2010 by moaca
Glad to see a large debate going on. People are feeling strongly about the subject that is for sure. Just to make 1 thing clear, I have nothing against hunting when done if absolutely necessary, like keeping certain stock down when nature fails to do so herself. I am by no means a cityslicker. I was brought up ruraly and know a bit or 2 about farms, nature, wild lift etc. Nor do I want to threaten all masculine man out there. I just felt I needed to spill my guts with regard to the shooting of these animals, simply because despite the so called " experts ruling this needed to be doing". They clearly failed to justify the reasons to shoot 10% of an endengered species,hence everybody's reactions.

We all have an agenda and the farmer for sure wants to se the back of wolves and all predators threatening and killing their livestock. Which is understandable and I do sympathise with them. Just curious though, how many animals in a year are being killed by wolves in Sweden? Are we talking about max 100 animals countrywide, or are we talking about thousands? And is there no insurance available or governmental aid with regards to losing livestock to predators? I dont see the loss of live stock as insignificant as they are animals as well. Nor am I a bluming veggie, I do like my meat. But I think common sense and putting what nature still has left to offer is something we need to stop taking for granted. Come on people, it took us 40 YEARS to get the amount of wolves we have today, remember?

O, isnt the bear a natural enemy of the wolve? O, are wolves not getting killed and injured by moose? I dont think that with the present wolf population they are a large threat for the moose and deer population either, there simply are not enough wolves but they do help maintain the stocks in certain areas.

By the way,what has JRR Tolkiens got to do with it? I dont read fiction so I cannot really comment on what the Lord of the Rings can contribute to this discussion. Was he or she a wolf expert?
00:49 January 5, 2010 by Mack
"By the way,what has JRR Tolkiens got to do with it? I dont read fiction so I cannot really comment on what the Lord of the Rings can contribute to this discussion. Was he or she a wolf expert?"

JRR Tolkien's writing reflected the negativity Europeans have had against wolves for centuries. For the record, I grew up on a farm and hunted when I was young. As someone else here as pointed out... unless you are veggie... you can't really complain about hunters... factory farming treat animals far worse. The real issue is does this make any sense at all?... culling 20 wolves from such a small population. It will not help the genetic diversity of a recovering population.
22:58 January 5, 2010 by steve_38
Anyone who hunts is sick.

In the last 100 years there has only been 1 fatality in North America attributed to a wolf or a wolf pack. These animals keep well away from humans as they know we are the only real threat to them.

In the UK a lot of sheep get killed by domestic dogs. If farmers were more proactive in looking after live stock this might not happen in UK for dogs and Sweden for Wolves.

Its the same debate as in the Uk about fox hunting the sickos who hunt use whatever stupid arguemnts they can for there own sick perverted reasons.

Wolves will kill the old and sick prey animals, like the guy said above the growth in the population has takn a long time.

Great Scott you need to read up a bit more mate as what you have said is inaccurate to say the least.

Just in the Summer this year a number of people were killed by domestic cows while dog walking, do theY then go out and cull x% of all the cows in the UK ????. No of course not.
09:44 January 6, 2010 by SweetBlue
Since it is against the law to hunt wolves in Sweden, even at the defense of your animals or property, let your licensed, trained and highly respected hunters have their shot. Pun intended.
16:09 January 6, 2010 by norling
I always love the fact that anytime a subject like this comes up the anti hunters and vegans start bringing up mass murder and genocide. Personally I think the government should just stay out of it, if your a farmer and you have a problem with wolves killing your stock shoot them your self. Also it seems that there is also the ballbusting Swedish woman that enters the thread, I can't believe they are so bad that they need to be brought up either facetiously or seriously as the cause of all problems in Sweden.
17:04 January 8, 2010 by jonssonp
#37 I agree 100% have a problem shoot and shut up
01:23 January 9, 2010 by wolflover
norling AND jonssonp:

You're both pathetic and probably Swedish men ;) Thank you for making me laughing about you :)
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