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Minister dogged by more wolf hunt criticism

TT/David Landes · 13 Jan 2010, 15:58

Published: 13 Jan 2010 15:58 GMT+01:00

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Ahead of the wolf hunt, the first in Sweden in more than four decades, Carlgren argued that the kill was a necessary step to cut down on inbreeding among Sweden’s wolf pack.

However, after examining the carcasses of 20 of the 27 wolves killed in the hunt, experts have yet to find any abnormalities or defects that would have resulted from inbreeding.

Nevertheless, Carlgren defended the hunt on Wednesday, claiming that the ensuing debate has emerged from a misunderstanding.

“Strong efforts are required to ensure the wolf’s survival while at the same time achieving political acceptance, and thus all measures must be seen in their entirety,” Carlgren told the TT news agency.

“Right now everyone is only talking about the hunt. No one cares about the fact that we are also going to bring in genetically healthy wolves and strengthen the pack.”

He also maintained that the hunt was good for the pack.

“The wolf pack's ability to reproduce is threatened. All the researchers are saying this. Thus it’s not productive to let the current packs of genetically weak individuals grow out of control,” said Carlgren.

“But without the hunt, we can’t gain acceptance for our intentions to bring new wolves into the country. That’s why we set a limit on the growth of the pack. But the ceiling of 210 wolves is still just an intermediary goal. It may be changed in the future.”

The National Veterinary Institute (Statens veterinärmedicinska anstalt – SVA), has so far examined 20 of the 27 wolf carcasses it has received and expects to have its work completed by the end of the week.

The agency’s work has been hampered somewhat following the discovery that a number of the male wolves were turned into SVA without any testicles.

According to SVA’s Arne Söderberg, the testicles were likely mistakenly cut off by hunters when they removed the animals’ pelts before sending the carcasses to the agency.

As a result of the missing testicles, SVA’s ability to accurately judge the animals’ reproductive capacity has been diminished, according to Söderberg.

“It’s a shame the testicles are missing. We’re not going to be able to get a complete picture,” he told TV4’s local affiliate in Uppsala in eastern Sweden.

Story continues below…

It is scientifically documented that a great number of Swedish wolves are inbred and that inbreeding can cause defects in the animals.

However, information about how the wolves killed in the hunt may have been genetically related to one another won’t be available until DNA tests have been completed on all the wolves.

“But the wolf carcasses we’ve examined so far have been in good condition with well-developed musculature. There are no unhealthy changes. Skeletal examinations to be carried out by the Museum of Natural History (Naturhistoriska riksmuseet) still remain, however, and it’s possible that they’ll find something that we can’t see with the naked eye,” SVA veterinarian Jonas Malmsten told TT.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:17 January 13, 2010 by moaca
Now why would the hunters cut the balls of from these wolves? For a trophy, to cook and eat them, or to undermine the investigation with regards to checking the reproductive abilities? I find the explanation that they were "mistakenly" removed when the pelts were stripped slightly suspicious. I am glad to see that the minister is being held to account as more and more people are realising that this was not such a good idea after all.

Up to some point I do understand the preservation of the species to remain diverse and healthy, but this whole operation has not been thought through properly and turned into a disaster. The hunters certainly didnt score any points and the government need to get their house in order and must justify what they are doing and why.

Furthermore, I wonder how this goes down in the European Union as this is still an endangered species. I can only hope that any future hunts will be thrown out the window and that alternative measures will be used until we REALLY do have issues with the wolves. If they do become a nuicance and a serious threat to livestock on big scale then we may be left with no other alternative. But the reasoning for culling 10% of the entire Swedish wolf population because they have killed some sheep doesnt hold ground for most of us (no offence to the farmers that were impacted). Get these farmers compensated for their financial losses. The government should focus more on this perhaps?
20:28 January 13, 2010 by eZee.se
"Now why would the hunters cut the balls of from these wolves?"

Simple, the hunters were jealous the wolves had bigger ones than them.

Put these macho idiots in the middle of a pack of wolves without their guns... THEN call it a sport.
20:42 January 13, 2010 by aaronr
"Strong efforts are required to ensure the wolf's survival while at the same time achieving political acceptance, and thus all measures must be seen in their entirety," Carlgren told the TT news agency''.

The cull has nothing at all to do with the wolf's survival or welfare but more about politics and chasing electoral votes. Go eco Sweden......
02:08 January 14, 2010 by Twiceshy
> Put these macho idiots in the middle of a pack of wolves without their guns... THEN call it a sport.

Spot on. Hunting is barely more of a sport than chess is.
03:19 January 14, 2010 by Davey-jo
So shooting wolves makes them outbreed? Stands to reason that shooting wolves makes them turn to compost.
08:21 January 14, 2010 by entry
Recent studies have concluded that wolf cull derangement syndrome can be reduced by eliminating the application of warning labels on hand held electric hair dryers and the complete removal of lead paint from university dorm rooms.

13:30 January 15, 2010 by AstroSphinx.se
The problem that they never seem to address is that the wolf population is too small, not too large, this idea of the wolves being geneticly inferiour is made by the number of deformities, but there are two factors involved, first, INBREEDING because our base wolf population is just simply too small. There is enough land for them as well but there is polution and contamination with mercury and toxic medicine out there in the rubish, this will also influence the rate of mutations that are not substainable.

A healthy wolf population would be from about 2000 to 6000, which is substainable only that there would be a need for a ban on hunting because then humans would be in direct compatition with their food source, Moose, deer, rats, lemings, and various other prey that substain wolf populations, however on the other hand, no one would be able to blame the simple moose populations for auto accidents, because the wolves would certainly take care of this "problem". However because hunters have the political system in their hands, and they have guns, I seriously doubt there is any one person or politician that will ever go against them. Even still I have respect for the hunters who bring home their food to eat rather than buy their meat in a shop.

I would also add I understand that the raindeer populations may be owned by the Sami and they too may not wish the threat of a flurishing wolf population. Where as I say, a healthy wolf population really wouldn't be a threat to humans, but maybe for a few domestic animals in rural areas. Since these are already food animals the only loss would be a small ecconmic one.
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