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Wolf hunt saves animals from inbreeding: minister

TT/The Local/vt · 8 Feb 2011, 16:17

Published: 08 Feb 2011 14:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Feb 2011 16:17 GMT+01:00

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"There is only one way to save the wolf. We have to bring in new wolves to combat the alarmingly high inbreeding in the species. And in order to gain acceptance of the policy in the areas affected by wolves, a limited hunt is needed," said Carlgren.

"We have received support for this policy from many research groups. The researchers also say that the hunt does not threaten the species' survival," he added.

Sweden's inbred wolf population is unsustainable in the long run, according to several experts who want to see cooperation with Norway, Finland and Russia to address the issue.

They argue that the wolf population in the region needs to be three times its current size to remain viable.

According to one of the researchers behind the study, Michael Møller Hansen, conservation biologist at Aarhus University in Denmark, the wolf population must increase in all the countries in the region in the long run, including Russia.

"Not long ago, there was historically a large wolf population associated with thousands of wolves in this region. If you want to be on the safe side in the long run, about 3,000 individuals are needed," Hansen told news agency TT on Tuesday.

This means in practice that the wolf population in all three countries - Sweden, Finland and Russia - would have to treble. For Sweden, this would result in a population of slightly over 600 wolves.

"I am aware of the political difficulties. However, we have only conducted a strict scientific assessment of the problem," said Hansen.

"The most important thing in the present situation is that there is a continuous gene flow from Russia to Sweden. If it cannot be achieved through natural migration, it must be resolved otherwise," he added.

The Swedish government's predatory animal commission's international panel of experts has conducted a scientific assessment of the situation facing Swedish wolves.

They want the Swedish wolves together with wolves in Norway, Finland and Russian Karelia to be counted as a northern European population. The area is home to 1,000 wolves at most.

The researchers suggest that the natural migration is complicated by the fact that the wolf in practice is banned from reindeer herding areas in northern Finland and Scandinavia.

Story continues below…

The Riksdag, held an emergency debate on the wolf issue on Tuesday. Jens Holm of the Left Party, who initiated the debate, launched a fierce attack against Carlgren.

"Scientists will of course say that more wolves are needed. Why do you start by shooting wolves? Nothing has been done to strengthen its genetic status. However, the hunt is on again," he said.

Prior to the meeting, the leaders of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen), World Wildlife Fund, Predatory Animal Association (Svenska Rovdjursföreningen) and Animal Welfare Sweden (Djurskyddet Sverige) urged the government to think over its wolf policy.

They welcome the EU Commission's decision to initiate legal proceedings against Sweden for the licensed hunting of wolves and call the government's plans to set free wolves from zoos or from other countries a "panicky attempt to save face" in an opinion article in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) on Tuesday.

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

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Your comments about this article

16:55 February 8, 2011 by Swedesmith
Would this work in Arkansas?
17:10 February 8, 2011 by UScitizen
@ Swedesmith

I doubt it. I've been to Arkansas and seen the people there. I wonder what's going to stop the Riksdag from inbreeding? Oh.... it won't work in Alabama either.
17:27 February 8, 2011 by Ravioli
There's a lot of inbreeding going on in Sweden as well...and it's not just the wolves doing it.
18:58 February 8, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Feed the social democrats to the wolves. Solve two problems at once.
19:31 February 8, 2011 by countrysidedrive
Isn't the point of the controversy is that they are endangered in Europe. Instead of killing the wolves how about capturing them and sending them to the countries that they are endangered in. Seems common sense. Except no one in all of Europe wants wolves running around their homes. i love all animals but if I had children and wolves where in my backyard. I can guarantee that some of those wolves would disappear off the face of the earth. Sorry but my family comes first. Sorry wolves.
20:15 February 8, 2011 by Njal
This is what happens when we allow politicians to solve problems for us. This is their best, most creative answer: "shoot 'em".
20:53 February 8, 2011 by Ivan Juric
In breeding is more likely to happen if you reduce the population of wolves by hunting....no brainer....
23:37 February 8, 2011 by GLO
Shame on Sweden!!!
23:40 February 8, 2011 by Puge Henis
Shoot the politicians (of Sweden) prevent stupidity.
00:28 February 9, 2011 by Libellula
I live in a rural community in France and hunters will always try to lengthen the hunting season and find other excuses to kill, kill, kill. Wild boars mostly.

I presume when people want other countries to cooperate, they mean capture and introduce new blood stock to prevent the so-called inter breeding.

Why not enlist the help of the hunters in an organised darting of the wolves to enable capture and re distribution? Not killing, but still shooting....;
03:08 February 9, 2011 by volvoman9
Yet another nod to the blood lust of humans. This notion that hunting of any sort is beneficial to the survival of a species is a statement akin to saying that the corporate world has only the welfare of it's employees as a first priority.

When will we see the end of this archaic and useless past time. When will mankind collectively admit that we cannot continue exploiting the planet for our own perverted amusement? It is this selfish single mindedness that forms the basis for so much of the suffering mankind imposes on the world.

Today it is increasingly common to hear these thinly veiled unsubstantiated excuses as justification for aberrant behavior. Yet those of us who have the intellect to see these lies are apoplectic and mute as if the absurdity of these claims alone should expose them for what they are. These are the same arguments used to justify the continued use of fossil fuels, to deny climate change, and to cling to religious myths and superstitions.

In the above posts are common sense solutions to the supposed issue of inbreeding and the nonsense that culling will eliminate this. But what fun would it be to dart these creatures. No "wood" to be had there.
06:36 February 9, 2011 by philster61
Inbreeding hasn't affected them during the thousands of years that they've been around so far. The rednecks just need a really unintelligent excuse to continue their bloodsport.
10:54 February 9, 2011 by Liquidmonkey
since when does reducing a species PREVENT them from inbreeding???

it only increases the chances you idiots.

do the hunters actually check to see if the wolf they shoot is a 'new one' or an 'old one'?

no, they don't, they just want to get their gun off.
02:00 February 10, 2011 by GLO
Stop killing, import wolves from other populations, what kind of idiots are running this program.
09:22 February 14, 2011 by loudasthunder

"There's a lot of inbreeding going on in Sweden as well...and it's not just the wolves doing it."

Spot-on : )

Ya know, if all of a sudden the Swedish government allowed hunting for the more "Dangerous Animals" migrating here, there would be a sudden rise in handgun applications and safety course training, oh, and hunting license permits too : )
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