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Sweden set to 'get tough' with illegal wolf hunters: minister

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Sweden set to 'get tough' with illegal wolf hunters: minister
09:12 CET+01:00
The Swedish government wants to toughen the country's hunting laws to make it easier for authorities to combat widespread illegal wolf hunting.

While laws regulating hunting in Sweden are commonly ignored, very few cases are every brought to trial, writes environment minister Andreas Carlgren in a debate article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“The criminalization of attempted and preparations for aggravated hunting crimes can be a useful tool in the fight against illegal hunting,” writes Carlgren.

Ahead of this year's wolf hunt, which is set to start on Saturday, the environment minister emphasised that Sweden's long-term goal is that Sweden have a larger wolf pack than it has today.

Carlgren explained that the heated rhetoric surrounding Sweden's controversial wolf hunt hides the fact that there is “wide support” for the view that there should be strong wolves in Swedish forests and that the strength of Sweden's wolf pack is contingent on new wolves coming into the country.

In order to realise the government's vision, which has wide support in the Riksdag, Carlgren said the government would pursue policies to improve local and regional participation in the management of beasts of prey.

In addition, Sweden will work to strengthen the genes of its 200-strong wolf pack, which is thought to have descended from only three individuals.

Finally, Carlgren explained that a limited, licenced hunt is important to keep the size of the pack under control while a new pack size is debated, and for engendering acceptance among residents who live in areas with a high population of wolves.

Controlling the size of the pack will also make it easier to carry out measures to reduce the chances of inbreeded, writes Carlgren.

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