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SE: Environmental Protection Agency: Poaching behind decreasing wolf population

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

The Swedish wolf population has fallen by more than a quarter in the last three years. Probably due to extensive illegal hunting, according to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Last week, the results of the winter’s inventory showed that there are about 300 wolves in Sweden at the moment, which is the limit of favorable conservation status, according to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, which thus sets the license hunt this winter.

Maria Hörnell-Willebrand, head of the Wildlife Analysis Unit at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, says there is no explanation for the decline than poaching.

“We find nothing natural that could explain the decline in the last three years. The only thing that remains to be explained is that you illegally remove quite a lot of wolves.

Poaching?

– Yes, illegally killing.

The wolf was sheltered in Sweden in the 60’s and has since slowly recovered. Winter 2014/2015 there were a good bit over 400 wolves in Sweden, all with territories in the middle parts of the country.

According to the State Veterinary Medicine, which analyzes all wolves found dead in nature, the population is fully healthy and should therefore steadily increase in number.

Nor is the licensed hunt that has taken place for some years from 2010 been able to explain a decline.

The Hunters Association says they “can not rule out” that the big downturn is about illegal hunting, meaning that there is a dissatisfaction in the countryside because authorities do not listen to those living in where the wolf exists.

Wolf researcher Olof Liberg at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences came in a research report from 2011 until the illegal hunt is extensive and that around 15 percent of the wolf strain was killed illegally each year.

“We now have indications that the poaching has increased further. We are analyzing this and will publish this later in the year.

Maria Hörnell-Willebrand thinks it would look bad if the number continues to decline.

– It also limits the possibility of sound management.

What can you do about the problem, other than just setting the license hunt next year?

“It is very difficult for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to access. It’s a crime that has to be treated like other crimes, “says Maria Hörnell-Willebrand.

Gunnar Glöerssen is the predator expert for the Swedish Hunters Association:

– If this is correct, it can be seen that wolf management is a capital failure. People have lost confidence in politics. If you do not get people’s confidence, this is a risk, what is called “The Italian Way,” he says.

-Niklas Zachrisson

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