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ATTACK

Zoo cuts off contact with wolves after fatal attack

Authorities at the Kolmården zoo have put a stop to any close contact with their park's wolves after a female zookeeper was mauled and killed by a pack of wolves on Sunday.

Zoo cuts off contact with wolves after fatal attack

In the wake of Sunday’s attack, which left a 30-year-old woman lying dead in an enclosure which houses eight wolves, has prompted the popular animal park to take drastic measures as it reviews wolf handling procedures.

The first step, according to the head of the zoo, Jan Roy, is to eliminate all close contact with the wolves – for both staff and visitors.

“We’ve noticed that we can no longer continue doing this, the risks are obviously too big to work in this manner, it’s going to be stopped,” Roy told Sveriges Radio (SR).

The zoo has still not decided whether the wolves will be put down.

The woman’s death, which staff members believe occured extremely quickly, was reported to emergency services shortly after 11am.

Paramedics were unable to reach the woman’s body for a time as she was still surrounded by the wolves, wrote daily Aftonbladet.

The deceased woman had worked with the zoo as a guide and lecturer for over three years, in which time she became extremely close with the wolves.

At the time of the attack, the 30-year-old was by herself with the pack of wolves, engaging in what the zoo refers to as a “social activities” – in which staff members build trust and rapport with the animals.

“She has been taking care of some of the wolves since they were little,” one colleague told the paper.

The zoological expert of Kolmården, Mats Höggren, has spoken out about the 30-year-old’s life and death.

“She was really competent and trustworthy, with excellent contact with the wolves up until this happened – which truly adds to our surprise and dismay. We saw no previous evidence or behavior in the wolves that would indicate such an incident could occur,” Höggren told the paper.

Kolmården zoo, which is near Norrköping in central Sweden, has opened again on Monday to resume normal business, according to TT.

TT/The Local/og

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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.