Swedish court confirms cull of 22 wolves

Swedish court confirms cull of 22 wolves
Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix / TT
A Swedish court has allowed the hunting of 22 wolves this winter.

The administrative court in Luleå has said that 22 wolves in defined areas of Dalarna, Gävleborg, Värmland, Västmanland and Örebro may be shot during the winter hunt, rejecting appeals against the cull.

Various organizations, including the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Värmland and Dalarna, had called for the hunt to be stopped. On the other hand, organizations including the National Hunting Association (Jägarnas riksförbund) had requested that the cull be extended.

The hunt will take place between January 2nd and February 15th next year, with a limit on the number of animals which may be killed in each municipality. A maximum of two wolves may be killed in Örebro and Gävleborg, while the limit for the remaining municipalities is six.

These figures relate to the licensed hunt, which is separate to the protective hunt.

Sweden has a total wolf population of around 355 animals, according to recent estimates. Authorities have previously ruled the country should have a minimum of 300 wolves.

Hunters claim wolves have been decimating stocks of other game and threatening hunting dogs in rural areas.

A back-and-forth battle saw Sweden resume the cull in 2010 and 2011, leading to a protest by the European Commission, which oversees European Union laws on protecting wolves and other endangered species. Subsequent culls have also been preceded by lengthy court battles.

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