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Swedish wolves: no clear evidence of inbreeding

Published torsdag 20 januari 2011 kl 13.02
Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren, hunter and wolves. (Photos: Scanpix)

The first autopsies have been carried out in Sweden's controversial wolf cull - on the first 15 of this year's planned cull of 20 wolves.

The researchers say there could be evidence of inbreeding among the country’s small wolf population, but it is too early to confirm or dismiss this.

                

Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren has defended the cull, pointing to the danger of inbreeding, and says that room must be made to import 20 wolves from Finland or Russia to provide new blood and genes.

Critics say that Sweden can support more than the target of 200 wolves since there are more in much more densely populated Spain and Italy. Farmers and herders argue that wolves kill too many of their dogs, sheep, and reindeer.

Only a few years ago, Sweden's wolf population had dwindled almost to extinction thanks to poachers. 

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