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French researcher bashes Swedish wolf hunt

A French scientist says Sweden's wolf hunt this year was based on shaky science, reports news agency TT. But his Swedish colleagues disagree.

Guiallaume Chapron, a predator ecologist with experience with wolves in France and Sweden, tells the magazine "Science" that Sweden's latest wolf hunt this year was an "abuse of science".

Originally the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency authorized a "licence hunt" of 16 wolves, a cull intended to reduce the chance of genetic inbreeding.

That decision was strongly questioned by the European Commission, and Swedish environmental organizations went to the courts in an effort to stop the cull.

Three wolves were killed before the court ruled to stop the hunt in February.

Now, in a letter published in Science magazine, Chapron harshly criticizes the justification for the hunt in the first place.

"It's complete nonsense to kill animals in order to reduce inbreeding. Would we have done it the same way if we were dealing with woodpeckers? Of course not. People would think we were crazy," says Chapron.

Chapron think Swedish authorities caved to special interests who want to see a smaller wolf population in the country.

Chapron's criticism of the controversial wolf hunt reveals a split among top wolf researchers.

One of his colleagues, Swedish scientist Olof Liberg, the coordinator of the Scandinavian Wolf Project, says selective hunts in the short-term can decrease inbreeding levels.

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