Reduced Lynx Hunting in Sweden

lo_2Tuesday marked the start of the official lynx hunt in Sweden but this year authorities will only allow 110 animals to be killed compared to 209 last year.

The shy animal is rarely seen by humans but according to opinion polls it is the most popular predatory animal in Sweden, Swedish Radio News reports. In the far north, however, where the lynx kills an estimated 20,000 reindeers every year, it is not as popular.

Last year the Swedish government paid about $4 million in compensation to reindeer herders, despite claims that their losses were far higher.

Lynx hunting will significantly decrease this winter.

In the reindeer-herding counties, 87 lynx will be taken compared to last winter’s 127.

Hunting is unchanged in the County of Jämtland while the largest decreases will be in Norrbotten and Dalarna.

The inventories show that the lynx stock has significantly decreased the past two winters and is exactly at the Swedish Parliament’s minimum goal of 250 family groups.

This has consequences for hunting, such as in the reindeer-herding region where the respective county administrative boards have now begun setting the hunting limits.

But the boards are making differing assessments of the limits.

In Norrbotten, the stock decrease has been fairly low; despite this, the hunting limit will be reduced from 24 to five lynx.

“In Norrbotten, the lynx stock is just under the administration’s goal for the county of 35 lynx rejuvenations,” says Britta Wännström, who heads the county administrative board’s environmental department. “At the same time, there must be space for hunting lynx identified as causing damage. Licensed hunting in the county must therefore be very limited this year.”

In Jämtland however, the hunting limit will be 60, unchanged from last winter. This despite the lynx stock being almost halved during recent years, and down to nearly the same level as in Norrbotten.

In Västerbotten, which has a lower stock than Norrbotten, the hunting limit will be eight lynx, which is also a substantial reduction.

Two lynx will be shot in Dalarna, 16 fewer than last winter.

The only reindeer-herding county where hunting is on the rise is Västernorrland.

Beyond the reindeer-herding region, 30 lynx may be shot and despite a decrease in hunting, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation is critical.

“The lynx stock has continuously decreased in recent years,” says Mikael Karlsson, chairman of the society. “The decision is further proof that the government’s lynx policy is failing to protect the Swedish people’s nature interests. The government’s continued concessions to the interests behind lynx hunting reflect an outdated approach to nature and society.

“The uncertainties regarding the size of the lynx stock are substantial, says Mikael Karlsson. “Permitting multiple years of hunting when it is unclear as to whether the stock is even at the minimum level, which may only apply in exceptional cases, is in conflict with the Parliament’s decision. The wildlife policy of always being at or under as small stocks as possible must be stopped. Nature cannot continue to be subject to exceptions.”

Radio Sweden

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