The wolf hunt in Sweden threatens the survival of many companies engaged in wolf tourism, reports Swedish news agency TT.
The Swedish Ecotourism Association has sent a letter to the government asking for the licensed hunt to be stopped in two wolf territories.
In the two areas of Kloten and Hedbyn, there are three ecotourism companies working to deliver wolf experiences for visitors. Tourists can follow wolf tracks, and hear the wolves howl.
“If the parent animals are killed throughout this territory it destroys the whole course prerequisites for tourism,” says Ulf Loven, general secretary of the Swedish Ecotourism Association to TT.
The letter has been sent to the Department of the Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency, which is the body that formally decided on the hunt.
Ulf Loven says that wolf tourism attracts many tourists from abroad, mainly England, and that the hunting decision was taken without any dialogue with tourism businesses, despite earlier promises from the ministry
The licensed hunt, targeting 16 wolves in 9 wolf territories in Sweden began on Thursday.
In each territory, one pack leader and one other wolf is to be targeted. By targeting alpha males there, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency hopes to strengthen the gene pool. The idea is that other males will get to populate the territory, leading to more diverse and healthier packs.
Some say the European Commission could take Sweden to court for breaching the Eu’s environmental laws, a threat it posed last year after Environment Minister Lena Ek said a targeted hunting license may be granted this season.
New wolf hunt in Sweden this winter, Radio Sweden
Poll: most Swedes oppose wolf hunts, Radio Sweden
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