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Swedish hunters slam wolf population proposal

TT/The Local/pvs · 11 Apr 2011, 17:03

Published: 11 Apr 2011 16:27 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Apr 2011 17:03 GMT+02:00

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There are currently around 200 wolves in the country and Liljelund argued in the interim statement that the number needs to be boosted to around 450 in order to sustain genetic variation.

Liljelund however pointed out that the figure is based only on a biological assessment and that the final report, which will be presented within a year, will include additional factors, such as the attitudes of local residents.

"This assessment is based solely on biology and ecology and what is required for wolves to achieve a favourable conservation status. It does not take into account socio-economic factors," Liljelund said on Monday.

He further said that the assessment of the target population of 450 wolves is based on an overview of what researchers believe.

"The situation for the wolves is serious but can be improved," Liljelund added.

Environment minister Andreas Carlgren declined to comment on the proposal on Monday.

"I don't want to take a position now. We should first listen to all the points of view. I am presuming that we will have an increased wolf population in Sweden, but exactly how large this will be is a question for a later date," Carlgren said.

The Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management (Svenska Jägareförbundet) has however reacted against the proposals contained in the interim report.

The association argues that the Swedish wolf population should be as small as 150 animals.

"We can't accept 450 wolves. It is regrettable that Liljelund now touts that figure for the final report," said Gunnar Glöersen at the association.

"Liljelund has let ecologists and biologists set the figure, but as I see it there is nothing in the EU directive which requires it to be quantified in this way," he said.

The WWF is however happy with a large part of the interim report.

"I would like to see more of the background to the conclusions, but generally speaking I am positively surprised," Tom Arnbom at WWF said.

In January, the European Commission decided to open a formal infringement procedure action against Sweden for allowing a recent cull of the country's wolf population.

Story continues below…

It could lead to a case before the European Court of Justice, which can impose hefty fines on EU states that violate the union's rules.

Lars-Erik Liljelund's interim report also reviewed the status of the other three major predators in Sweden.

For the bear and the lynx, the situation is described as satisfactory. But the wolverine is, like the wolf, described as having an unfavourable conservation status.

According to Liljelund the wolverine population would need to be boosted from the current 650 animals to a stock of 850 in order to reach a genetic balance.

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

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Your comments about this article

16:40 April 11, 2011 by bramblebush
Who is afraid of the big bad wolf? Cowardly humans...
18:30 April 11, 2011 by GLO
Help the Wolf. No hunting ever! Except for single problem animals. Let the population adjust to natures control.
19:15 April 11, 2011 by rise
Let the wolves loose at the hunters - without their rifles.
19:16 April 11, 2011 by Smiling Canuk
These hunters need to take a lesson in basic genetics as well as math.

450 wolves in a country the size of Sweden is not a large population. We have over 60,000 in Canada and that's not including coyotes, wild dogs or wolf/coyote hybrids. Yes, Canada is a much bigger country, but based on our size to population ratio, Sweden can support a lot more wolves.
21:39 April 11, 2011 by bramblebush
Let ordinary people hunt hunters. At least they can defend themselves...
22:44 April 11, 2011 by redfish
Wolves killed my father and raped my mother.
22:49 April 11, 2011 by Muff
"Liljelund has let ecologists and biologists set the figure, but as I see it there is nothing in the EU directive which requires it to be quantified in this way,"

''Whilst I in turn have no academic credentials in the field of genetics and am just raving about things I don't know'' he continued as he hid under his bed from the wolfs.
23:11 April 11, 2011 by reason
Ok, so that's what the guys who like to shoot wild animals for a hobby think... it is not explained why their opinion should matter more than that of the mushroom pickers, the bird watchers, the hikers, the hermits or the people who like sitting quietly in the forest for hours with a camera.
00:39 April 12, 2011 by LeoKinmann
The hunters should be hunted for a change.
04:39 April 12, 2011 by Da Goat
the only way to better genetic diversity is to import them having 2 or 500 animals makes no difference if they are one family. (home bred)

if the animals are genetically healthy then you can have as many or as few as you like! makes no difference!

if you import bad genes then you endanger the whole lot!

both sides of the debate have nothing !

the only factor to consider is how many the country can support or how many you want to keep!

if you feed the wolves illegal immigrants then you can keep many more of them except they will have a taste for foreign nationals which is not so good. as if you run out they might eat the children too. LOL
05:42 April 12, 2011 by flobalob
What is a hunter EXACTLY ?
08:33 April 12, 2011 by Liquidmonkey
putting genetics aside and even putting the idiot hunters aside....

TWO hundred of ANYTHING is a VERY LOW NUMBER!!!!
08:57 April 12, 2011 by HYBRED
Kill em and grill em.
09:09 April 12, 2011 by Liquidmonkey

hunters went nearly extinct when guns were invented.

the people that kill animals (with a gun) in the forest today are nothing more than slaughterers. for the most part, they just sit in a hide and wait.

there are still those that actually 'hunt' with bows and knives but they are few and far between.
09:16 April 12, 2011 by Insweden
The truth is very simple: Swedish hunters don't want to share with predators even one single moose out of the 50.000 they kill every year. They think they can keep doing their own business as in Middle Age. If it were up to them, there would be no more linxes, bears or wolverine in Sweden, at all. Most of them are basically ignorant people who don't know that predators are fundamental for the health of preys population (more wolves, bigger and healtier mooses): once their fridge is full, everything is ok.

It's sad to say, as I am living in Sweden, but that is what it is all about.
09:17 April 12, 2011 by engagebrain
How many hunters can Sweden support ?

Their stupidity and lack of genetic diversity suggests a major cull would be of ecological benefit.
09:37 April 12, 2011 by karex
#14 - Hunting with a bow is not allowed in Sweden. As an archer I don't quite understand why, though I'm not a hunter and wouldn't use bows for hunting. Just curious.

#15 - Actually in the Middle Ages if you were a peasant (i.e., not part of the nobility) and were caught hunting it would be considered poaching and you could hang for it. In those days, only the landowner had hunting rights. That in itself helped keep wildlife population somewhat protected from extinction, at least more than nowadays when it's a free-for-all.
13:32 April 12, 2011 by Ranjit T Edward
I think some controlled culling is needed here. Not of the wolves, but of the hunters. They seem to be at a very unhealthy proportion of numbers. That was very apparent on the last hunt. Their behavior showed signs of genetic flaws!
00:11 April 13, 2011 by TheOneWhoTravels
I don't think they should kill the wolves. Wolves are good for the environment.
00:18 April 13, 2011 by bira
I can understand why the Sami may not want more wolves but what kind of hunter wants a smaller population of what they hunt. Makes no sense.
21:03 April 16, 2011 by Fascmouse
Before you make this commitment, look into the history of Yellowstone National Park in the US. It has a history of the smarter-than-you crowd trying to control natural environments, animal populations, etc. Every time they tried something, it ended up a colossal failure because each "managed change" led to unforeseen consequences because the eco-system is a LOT more complicated and interrelated than anybody fantasized.

And each consecutive mistake started with the same false premise: "we're smarter than the ones who tried before."
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