The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen), World Wildlife Fund and the Predatory Animal Association (Svenska rovdjursföreningen) have decided to send the EU commission a joint statement on the matter.
“We feel that it’s highly important that we inform the Commission that the government is trying to trick the commission. They’re pretending to halt the hunt but then continuing it again, despite the fact that the wolf population isn’t viable,” said Mikael Karlsson, chairman of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation , to Sveriges Radio (SR).
Several experts have argued that the wolf population in the Nordic countries needs to grow to at least three times its current size to remain viable.
Following pressure from the European Commission, the Swedish government agreed to stop the licensed wolf hunt this winter. However, they hope to resume this hunt as soon as the winter 2012-2013.
At the same time, the government opted to scrap the ceiling of 210 wolves culled annually for wildlife management purposes. Minister for the environment Andreas Carlgren claims that this does not mean that an unlimited number of wolves will be culled.
“Of course not. We will reach a favourable conservation status with as few wolves culled as possible,” he said to news agency TT.
Carlgren feels the Commission has been unnecessarily rigid in their handling of the matter, meddling in something which ought to have remained a Swedish concern.
“Sweden’s policy on predators must be carried out with great consideration and respect for those that take the consequences of living near predators, that is the local population,” Carlgren told TT.
Sweden’s leading environmental agencies argue that the government’s actions show that they are trying to trick the commission, in an attempt to avoid a conviction in the European Court of Justice, and are now sending the European Commission a joint statement on the matter.
“The government seems to hope that through this maneuver the Commission will be convinced to drop the case,” said Mikael Karlsson.
“But since they’ve committed to recommence licensed wolf hunts in 2013, both politically and in various documents, we feel the matter must be tried. We want a court precedent that hinders future licensed hunting,” he explained.