Swedish wolves threatened by poachers

4:31 min

On Wednesday, Sweden said it would stop this year's licensed hunt for wolves due to the threat of legal action from the European Union, but today it's emerged that illegal poaching actually accounts for over half of all deaths of wolves in Sweden.

A study by a group of researchers working at the Grimsö Wildlife Resreach Station mapped Sweden's wolf population over a period of ten years and found that without illegal poaching, Sweden's wolf population would be four times the size as it is today. However poaching has declined in the last four years.

Environment minister Andreas Carlgren announced on Wednesday that a third consecutive licensed open season hunt for wolves will not go ahead this winter due to the threat of legal action from the EU commission. Instead Carlgren said that the government will increase the possibilities for a protective hunt of wolves that threaten livestock or humans, which is permitted under EU law. 

Torsten Mörner- President of the Swedish Hunters Association said his members felt let down by the government but hopes the protective hunt could be used as another way to control wolf numbers;

"The government says that there will be a possibility to hunt wolves but just not under what they call the licensed hunting and we hope that the government will live up to what they say that we will be able to manage the wolf population."