SHARE
COPY LINK

BRA

Pro-wolf politician attacked in his home

A local politician in northern Sweden, openly opposed to excessive wolf hunting, was hospitalized on Tuesday night after being knocked out by a rock thrown through his bedroom window.

Pro-wolf politician attacked in his home

“I only had time to think that there had been an explosion,” Green Party member Arne Johansson from Ånge, in north western Sweden, told the Aftonbladet newspaper from the hospital bed.

“Then I woke up and found out it was a rock about ten centimetres wide.”

The blow had knocked Johansson unconscious. About two hours later he came to, and was able to call for help.

Johansson feels deep respect for the wild northern predator, and he has openly expressed his feelings on the eradication of wolves.

But after repeated threats and attacks, this might be the last straw, he told Afonbladet.

The same day as the attack, Johansson had also discovered the bolts to his car wheels were unscrewed, and that someone had carved a cross in the paint of the vehicle.

He has also previously received death threats in the mail.

It hasn’t been confirmed that it is his stance on wolf hunting that is the root of all his problems, but Johansson told the paper he had been informed by police that it is a clear possibility.

Earlier this year, Johansson had debated the wolf issue with a group of hunters, which made him realize just what he was up against.

“It was then I understood how fanatical they are. Not only did they want to wipe out the Swedish pack, but also the Russian,” he told Aftonbladet.

“Not a single wolf should exist on the planet. That’s crossing the line. I spoke my mind.”

Ann Dahlerus with the Predatory Animal Association (Svenska Rovdjursföreningen), which is against licenced killing of wolves, told Aftonbladet that it is quite common for their members to receive threats.

“Especially in areas with a lot of wolves it might be difficult socially to publicly be positive about wolves,” she said.

“In county Dalarna we tried getting members to speak up for the wolves in an interview with Sveriges Television but none of the 15 members we called felt that they dared.”

Marcus Kalén, 41, lives in a village not far from where Johansson was attacked. He’s an avid hunter, and among those who feel wolves need to be restricted to zoos.

“It’s hard for people from the cities to understand. Hunting and fishing are the only hobbies we have out here. If the wolves stay these become impossible. We don’t even dare release our dogs,” he told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Kalén doesn’t think that the wolf debate was behind the assault of Johansson, explaining to the paper that there’s no pressing wolf issue in the area right now.

But there are indications that violence and threats against politicians in Sweden have increased, and the National council for crime prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet, BRÅ) initiated a study to investigate just how comprehensive these crimes are, on the behest of the government.

According to the head of the unit for statistical surveys at BRÅ, Erik Grevholm, this is a common strategy used by the state when a problem is detected; to gather a comprehensive knowledge base about the problem.

“And it has become a problem in Sweden, one can easily establish that by just reading the newspapers,” Grevholm told The Local.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

WOLVES

Swedish hunters kill 22 wolves in a week

Five wolves were shot by Swedish hunters on Saturday morning, meaning they have killed 22 out of the 24 wolves for which licences have been granted after just one week.

Swedish hunters kill 22 wolves in a week
This Chernobyl wolf is safe from Swedish hunters. Photo: Valeriy Yurko/University of Portsmouth
Environmental campaigners sharply criticised the decision by the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden’s decision to issue licenses to hunt wolves on December 30, accusing it of ignoring an 18 percent drop in the country’s wolf population to an estimated 340 animals. 
 
Torbjörn Nilsson, chairman of the Swedish Carnivore Association, called the decision “unfortunate and surprising”.
 
But Martin Källberg, editor of the hunting magazine Svensk Jakt, said that the speed with which the quota had been met indicated that there had been no shortage of animals. 
 
“There are quite simply a lot of wolves in these areas,” he told The Local, adding that the weather had also helped.  “When you have fresh snow you can follow the tracks. It’s much easier, because then you can see where they are.”  
 
Members of a hunting team in Örebro County told Aftonbladet in an article published on Saturday that wolves were threatening livestock, dogs, elk and deer. 
 
“Deer have almost disappeared. But you see wolf shit everywhere nowadays,” one of the hunters complained. 
 
“I've seen elk that have been raped … I was about to say raped, I meant taken down. They had bitten off a…piece at the back of the thigh and then followed the elk until it bled to death. That’s what my wife says, ‘think about the poor elk!’. They have to be afraid all the time now. It is terrible.”
 
According to Svensk Jakt, three wolves were shot in Orsen, Dalarna, on Saturday, one wolf in Loka, between Dalarna and Örebro, and one in Brattfors, in Gävleborg. 
 
This means that hunters in Brattfors have now shot all six of the wolves for which quotas were granted. 
 
Loka would also have exhausted its quota of six wolves had the local county government not decided on Saturday to grant a license for one more wolf. 
 
“The strategy to achieve our goal is to empty certain territories, including Loka. We have had clear indications that there were more than six wolves,” David Höök, the wildlife officer in Värmland, who administers the hunt, explained to SVT Orebro. 
 
Five wolves have also been shot in both Orsen, Dalarna and Blyberg, Gävleborg, leaving each area one more wolf to kill.