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Wolf hunt quota angers environmentalists

The Local · 1 Feb 2013, 08:02

Published: 01 Feb 2013 08:02 GMT+01:00

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The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) has authorized the killing of 16 wolves in specific territories in a hunt that starts on Friday and ends on February 17th.

The most recent estimate a year ago put the overall number of wolves in Sweden at around 270, spread out in about 30 packs, though those numbers have most certainly risen since then.

The agency announced on Wednesday it had allowed a "selective and targeted hunt of inbred wolves as a step towards reducing inbreeding and having a sustainable, healthy wolf population".

"A selective and targeted hunt is the only method that can reduce the level of inbreeding in the short term," it said.

Wolves are considered a protected species in many parts of Europe, and Swedish environmentalists decried the hunt as illegal and said it could hurt the wolf population.

"We believe the hunt violates both EU law and Swedish hunting regulations," Oscar Alarik, legal counsel at the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen), said on Thursday.

"We don't agree that the hunt would help sustain the wolf population. The population is not big enough for a hunt of this size," he told Swedish news agency TT.

The Djurskyddsföreningen, WWF and Rovdjursföreningen (Swedish Predators Association) have together appealed the decision to Stockholm's Administrative Court.

Sweden's parliament voted to resume a licensed wolf hunt in 2010 after a 46-year hiatus, allowing 27 wolves to be killed.

Supporters said the cull was needed to strengthen the gene pool of Sweden's largely inbred wolf population, and wolves were imported from Finland and Russia to replace the killed animals.

The hunt was again authorized in 2011, but not in 2012.

The agency stressed that the "selective and targeted" hunt for 2013 was not the same as the licensed hunts in 2010 and 2011.

"This is not a normal licensed hunt," EPA director Maria Aagren told TT.

But EU officials told Swedish media they were watching the situation closely to determine whether to take Sweden to the European Court of Justice.

Story continues below…

In January 2011, the Commission reprimanded the Scandinavian country for its wolf hunt.

The hunt is supported in rural Sweden, where sheep and reindeer have increasingly come under attack.

AFP/The Local/at

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Your comments about this article

08:59 February 1, 2013 by skogsbo
Most of the mainland Europe now breaks eu law on pig fm welfare, since New13, I see or hear no out cry there!.
12:33 February 1, 2013 by Borilla
#1 As usual no logic to the argument just bloviation.

The Centre and Moderates buying votes again by threatening an endangered species. Sweden is very selective about its obedience to regulations. When it comes to snus and hunting wolves, redneck votes are more important than obeying the law.
15:18 February 1, 2013 by calebian22
EU law. It is more of a joke than Swedish law, and that is saying something.
18:05 February 1, 2013 by rohermoker
If the Centre and Moderates buying votes, What to the liberals and Greens do. I guess that they are just promoting well reasoned comon scence ideas with no hint vote buying
21:24 February 1, 2013 by Rishonim
Sweden and its obsession with purity. I have been way up north and I have seeing loads of inbreeding looking folks.....
22:35 February 1, 2013 by johan rebel
Does anybody really expect the hunters to take out exactly those 16 "inbred" wolves? Have they been coated in dayglo paint to make them recognizable?

Most likely the hunters will shoot the wrong wolves, injure a couple of others, and kills several of their own dogs by mistake, like usual. With a bit of luck they might even shoot each other, as happens just about every year when they go out hunting moose.
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