First wolves killed in controversial hunt
A wolf was shot just after 7:00 AM Saturday morning in Örebro County, as the Swedish authorities apparently are defying the European Commission and going ahead with the controversial cull.
Two more wolves have also been reported shot in the province of Dalarna. But in one area in Dalarna, the hunters are refusing to kill any wolves.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has authorized a hunt of 16 wolves in 8 areas, which they say will strengthen the genetic pool of the endangered animals here, by reducing the chance of inbreeding. The hunt went ahead after a court ruled against an appeal from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and several private individuals.
The European Commission, which ruled that previous Swedish wolf hunt plans were illegal, has strongly criticised the latest hunt. Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik wrote to Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek demanding to see details of a concrete plan, as well as figures indicating how large the long-term Swedish wolf population should be for sustainability.
The letter closes with a warning that if Sweden should go ahead with a hunt without agreement on a plan for sustainability, he might be forced to seek to take Sweden to the EU court.
Hunters in the Mora norra hunt in Dalarna are supposed to be culling two of their local wolves, but the TT news agency reports they have refused. “It’s the only wolf pair in all of Sweden that don’t attack our dogs or our pastures,” the hunt’s Johan Frost says. “It’s wrong to kill wolves that do the right thing, It’s exactly these wolves we need to protect for the future.”
The planned hunt would cull around 8 percent of the estimated 200 wolves in Sweden.
Some 20 hunters were involved in killing the first wolf, near Ockelbo on the border between Örebro and Västmanland counties.