Sweden is all set for its first wolf cull in 45 years after parliament has decided to control the species’ numbers.
Around 10,000 hunters are reported to be planning to take part in the cull which starts on January 2nd and will continue until February, the start of the mating season for wolves.
So, just how many wolves are there in Sweden, considering that they were hunted almost to extinction in southern Scandinavia before a ban was introduced in the 1970’s?
It is thought there are only between 180 and 220 wolves in Sweden, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 27 can be shot. So, 10,000 hunters to get 27 wolves?
The hunters themselves insist there are measures in place to prevent them shooting too many, hunters having to check the quota every hour!
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation is critical of the culling decision, claiming it is against EU legislation as the Swedish wolf population has not reached a healthy level.
Sweden and Norway worked together to reintroduce the species to the forests along their border, but when Norway took the decision to cull some wolves in 2001 on the grounds that the population had spread too far, Sweden lodged a protest.
The Swedish parliament recently decided there should be, at most, 210 wolves in Sweden.