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Sweden preps for post-hunt wolf imports

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18:27 CET+01:00
The government on Thursday ordered the Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) to prepare for the active import of foreign wolves into Sweden from the east.

At the same time, wolves that naturally make their way into reindeer grazing areas in the north of the country are to be pushed south to central Sweden where the country's wolf population is concentrated.

“At most 20 healthy wolves that are unaffected by inbreeding will be assimilated with Swedish wolves over a five-year period,” Swedish environment minister Andreas Carlgren told the TT news agency.

He added that the move will require buy-in from people who live in the affected areas.

“It puts a lot of responsibility on the hunting organizations. I'm making a clear and direct appeal to them to take responsibility and contribute to the strengthening work which the Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) is about to start,” said Carlgren.

The Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management (Svenska Jägareförbundet) has, according to the minister, agreed to help bring the wolves into Sweden.

“I expect that the National Hunting Association (Jägarnas riksförbund) will do the same,” he added.

Following the controversial wolf hunt carried out earlier this year, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency will examine how it was carried out, including what was done before and during the hunt.

Among other things, the agency will look into the frequency of hunting injuries and the training of hunters, the demographic and genetic consequences of the hunt on Sweden's wolf population, and how various parties affected or involved reacted to the hunt.

“Both wolf parents were shot on one reserve. Researchers have said that the orphaned pups will likely make it, but we're going to investigate whether or not they do,” said Maria Ågren, director general of the environmental agency.

Another issue is whether or not 12,000 hunters were really required to kill 27 wolves.

“We want to know how many hunters are really needed to carry out a hunt like that, and if the hunters accepted their share of the responsibilities which come with the right to hunt. Make no mistake about this point; I'm not going to pull any punches if the hunters didn't live up to their responsibilities,” said Carlgren.

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