Wolf hunt claims first kills
The first wolves have been killed in this year's wolf hunt, following a decision by a Swedish appeals court yesterday to allow the cull. Eight wolves were killed on Friday, while the legal process continues in efforts to stop the hunt.
A total of 24 wolves are allowed to be culled in Värmland, and 12 in Örebro. The hunters were already out in the woods this morning with their guns. Swedish Radio in Värmland say they are unable to follow the hunt with the hunters this year, as the hunters feel threatened. Instead they are getting their information from the county authorities. So far at least five animals have been killed.
Maria Falkevik is responsible for predatory animals in Värmland County and is keeping track of the hunt. She tells Swedish Radio that once the animals are shot, county officials then have to see the body of the animal and take it off the list.
But even though a local anti-hunting action group has now launched a new appeal to stop the hunt, Maria Falkevik says that will not change anything for the time being.
"Until there is any development we will continue to follow our plans," she told Swedish Radio.
Wolf hunts are extremely controversial in Sweden. According to the previous government's wildlife proposal, between 170 and 270 wolves would be enough for a genetically healthy wolf population in Sweden. If as the number exceeds that, licensed culls can be allowed. There are currently around 400 wolves living in Sweden.
However, the EU has opposed the hunts, saying that wolves are an endangered species. That means that almost every wolf hunt now is becoming a matter for the courts. Jan Terstad of the Swedish Society of Nature Conservation told the TT news Agency that he expects the new hunt to end up in the European Court of Justice. "If the government doesn't do anything, the EU Commission will act," he said.