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WILDLIFE

Spicy invention protects dogs from wolf attacks

Body armour filled with flaming Indian spices mixed with anti-freeze is the latest invention to protect dogs from wolf attacks when hunting in the Swedish woods.

Spicy invention protects dogs from wolf attacks

“The specific spice I will keep a secret, but it’s supposed to be 300 times more spicy than Tabasco,” hunter and hunting entrepreneur Calle Ekström told Swedish online hunting site Jakt & Jägare.

The protection consists of a modified version of the body armour for dogs currently used to protect against boar attacks.

To this existing vest, Ekström, who is from Leksand in central Sweden, has added nine pockets which he fills with a mysterious blend of extremely potent Indian spices.

The spices are so hot, in fact, that Ekström has to use a face mask when preparing the messy substance.

To keep it from turning in to a bloc of ice during winter hunts, he mixes the spice with anti-freeze in a blender and then seals it in vacuum packed plastic pockets.

The pockets are then placed to cover the entire body of the dog for protection from every possible kind of attack.

“It’s important to provide protection on the belly since dogs often show their inferiority by turning onto their backs. In that case the wolf could kill the dog if it’s not protected round the belly,” Ekström told the paper.

Ekström said that although they haven’t been able to test the vests yet, he has already sold a number to concerned dog owners.

They weren’t allowed to try it on any captive wolves, but so far no dog wearing the 4995 kronor ($725) vest has been attacked in the wild.

Jens Karlsson at the wildlife damage centre (Viltskadecenter), an organization working to minimize damage to Swedish wildlife, has monitored the development of the spicy body armour, and seems somewhat optimistic towards it.

He has seen reports from the US where hideous tasting substances have been used to protect sheep from wolves, and the results were quite positive.

“With those experiments in mind perhaps Calle’s Indian spice mix isn’t such a bad idea, but that remains to be seen,” he said.

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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.