Indigenous Sami denied permit to kill lynx in North Sweden

Reindeer in Swedish Lapland. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP.Two Sami reindeer herding communities in northern Sweden have been denied a permit to hunt Swedish wild cats, or lynx, which they say are threatening their herds.

“Every evening when you go to bed you feel psychologically sick thinking that one more animal is about to disappear,” Peter Larsson from Maskaure herding community near Arjeplog told local radio channel P4 Norrbotten.

The county board rejected their application for a “protective hunt” arguing that the wild cats do not pose an urgent threat and that the annual lynx hunt has just got underway so the animals could be taken care of in the wider hunt.

However the Sami herders said their area is not covered by the annual hunt and that county officials had suggested they contact nearby land owners and ask them to shoot the lynx in question.

“That’s the weirdest thing about this. There’s not that many who have the knowledge to actually do that,” Peter Larsson from Maskaure told Swedish Radio.

But Björn Jonsson, responsible for hunting permits at the county board, said that there are strict rules for giving the go-ahead for a “protective hunt” aimed at defending a herd against a specific beast of prey.

And in this case, he said, killing the lynx in the annual hunt would be the best solution.

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