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Proposal sparks new debate about Sweden’s wolf policy

Written by Radio Sweden

The past few years’ controversial wolf hunt in Sweden may be replaced by new rules regarding wildlife control.

The Swedish environmental protection agency has come up with a proposal that will make it possible to shoot wolves which still have not attacked any domestic animals, but where there is a “strong probability” it will happen in the near future.

As so often in this issue, the proposal has been met with criticism from the two opposing sides.

A spokesperson for one hunting organisation tells Swedish news agency TT that although it is positive that it will be allowed to “hunt wolves to prevent damages”, they are concerned it will only be allowed on a very small scale.

But the Swedish branch of the wildlife conservation organisation WWF says it is very unclear how the “strong probability” should be judged, and what time-frame should be considered. “if a sheep farm is established in a wolf territory, are we to take away the wolves then because it is likely that they will kill sheep,” Tom Arnbom at the WWF tells TT.

The new environment minister Lena Ek is not prepared to comment the proposal from the environment protection agency, which will be referred to a long list of groups and organisations for consideration. But she says at the moment it is most important for Sweden to try to avoid that the EU takes over the issue. “The most acute threat is that everything ends up in the EU-court,” she tells Swedish Television news, adding that this would mean Sweden will completely loose control over the issue.