Two Swedish counties allowed hunting of wolf during this winter, which will decrease the population of the species by 10%. The issue prompted criticism from conservation groups in Sweden and our Society is happy to join the critical voices.
According to current estimations, there are about 370 wolves in Sweden and the minimum figure for a sustainable population has been fixed at 270. The two counties of Värmland and Örebro cleared the way for 24 and 12 animals to be shot respectively on Friday. The administrative board of Dalarna, which is home of Fulufjället National Park, is yet to make a decision and is permitted to allow for the killing of up to eight wolves.
The online edition of thelocal.se cited the lawyer of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen – SSNC) Mr. Oscar Alaric who said the following:
“It is clear that it was highly inappropriate that the hunt decisions were moved to the county administrative boards given how strong the pressure may be locally.”
The Wolf Association Sweden opened an online petition through change.org where the organisation aims at raising 10,000 signatures to protest against the killing of wolves. There is a hope that the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency or the European Commission will appeal against the matter.
Our Society is concerned about the presumption in Sweden of limitations of wolf presence in the reindeer herding area, and its restriction mainly to areas outside the year-round grazing areas, as indicated in the “Goals for predators” document from 2012. This seems to flout strict protection under Annex IV – it cannot with any integrity be implemented through derogations under Article 16. Thus if it is to be implemented legally then Sweden should be required to make a rigorous case for exception to Annex IV, as Finland did for wolf populations within the reindeer management area, as defined in paragraph 2 of the Finnish Act No 848/90 of 14 September 1990 on reindeer management.
“The allowance of wolf hunting in Sweden raises a serious issue on EU level. It is obvious that some countries are using derogations under Article 16 of the Habitats Directive as a means of population control of large carnivores. This issue is not just about wolves or Sweden and may have far reaching consequences if Sweden goes through, as it will show other countries that misusing science is a smart of way of evading EU rules.”
says Max A E Rossberg Chairman of the European Wilderness Society