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SE: The wolf question should be reconsidered

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer


The wolf question should be investigated again. The Government believes that the scientific basis for the wolf population was handled in a dubious way and want a new analysis of the population’s vulnerability.

According to Environment Minister Åsa Romson (MP), who presented the decision with rural minister Sven-Erik Bucht (S) on Thursday, the current national minimum population level of 270 wolves, is overly based on political considerations. She is also concerned that the level was determined by a vote in parliament.

“The question is whether Parliament should decide on this issue. It was a departure from previous practice. We believe that science will determine the level,” says Romson.

Recent analyses

This means that the Environmental Protection Agency once again may investigate what counts as favorable population preservation status for the wolf. A new vulnerability assessment will be developed, “based on a broad scientific basis.” It is one in a series of many predator  investigations in the past 15 years.

“But the work must also consider the socio-economic problems with a strong wolf population. The national rural population’s interests must be taken into account,” says Romson.

Critical moderates

Not surprisingly, the previous government was strongly critical of the new investigation. Ulf Berg, spokesperson of hunting issues for the Conservatives, thinks Romson wants to develop new figures where the minimum level is much higher than today.

“It is well known that the Green Party wants many more wolves, and the goal of a new investigation must surely be to come up with something completely different than the current policy. It is sad when we finally got in a functioning management policy” says Berg.

Romson and Bucht is also creating a permanent wolf Committee which the Environmental Protection Agency had demanded. It will consist of representatives of different interests.

It also intends to increase funding for the protection of domestic animals, and will also set up a commission to get a better system of decisions and legal review of the license to hunt wolves.  The investigation is in response to the recent recurrent appeals of licensed hunting. It has led to the pursuit being repeatedly protracted in different courts.

Fact: The Swedish wolf population

Gray wolves were originally over all of Sweden. The wolf population was steady until the 1850s, but then declined sharply because of strong persecution. At the beginning of the 1900s the species was found only in northern Sweden and the population was not more than 100 animals.

The decline continued until 1966 when the species was protected.  Protection however, came too late, when only a handful of wolves remained, and the species was near extinction until the early 1990s when the population started to increase again. Since then, the population has steadily grown from a few dozen individuals to approximately 400 animals.