On Wednesday, Sweden said it would stop this year’s licensed hunt for wolves after a threat of legal action from the European Union. But today it’s emerged that illegal poaching accounts for over half of all wolf deaths in Sweden.
A study by a group of researchers at the Grimsö Wildlife Resreach Station mapped Sweden’s wolf population over a ten year period. They found that without illegal poaching, the wolf population would be four times the size 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 wolf hunt will not go ahead this winter after a threat of legal action from the EU commission. Instead Carlgren said that the government would 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.”