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SHEEP

Shock alpaca slaughter ‘like a war zone’: farmer

Swedish alpaca farmers suspect that a wolf attacked and killed six of its animals on Wednesday night at their central Sweden farm, which supplies alpaca wool to the Swedish fashion industry.

Shock alpaca slaughter 'like a war zone': farmer

“My fiancée ran into the house screaming ‘Something’s happened’,” farmer Sven Persson told The Local.

“She’d only seen the one dead alpaca though. I rushed out and found the second, third, fourth… it was like a war zone.”

In total, six alpacas were killed in the spree on the farm in Smedstad, north of Karlstad, an attack Persson believes was carried out by up to three wolves.

Five of the slain animals were female, some of which were pregnant, and their young were also killed. One of them escaped with just injuries, and is currently in the care of veterinarians.

Breeding alpacas is a lucrative business, and the attack has left Persson in dire straits financially.

“My whole life has been destroyed, we’re bankrupt now. Each animal is worth between 50,000 and 80,000 kronor ($7,600 to $12,100) as they are, not to mention that some were pregnant,” he said.

Alpacas can live up to 15 years, according to Persson, meaning that the farmer stands to lose up to one million kronor per animal. He remains unsure if he will be able to get any compensation from the Swedish state, which often pays money to Swedes whose animals are killed by protected Swedish predators.

While some farmers in southern Sweden are experimenting with llamas to prevent wolf attacks on their sheep, Persson explained that alpacas don’t challenge predators in the same way. Instead, the animals, which are 20 percent smaller than their South American cousins, are more likely to warn their owner when a predator shows up.

“But our bedroom is on the far side of the house, we didn’t hear anything,” Persson lamented.

The farmer, however, refuses to blame the wolves for the attack.

“I’m no wolf hater,” he told The Local.

“It’s the fault of humans, we have destroyed their native habitat with our buildings and our roads, and they have nowhere to go.”

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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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.