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SWEDISH wolves will be culled after animal welfare activists lost the battle to stop the massacre in court.
By Lizzie Stromme
On Friday, a Supreme Administrative Court announced plans to shoot 24 wolves could go ahead, despite massive protests it could lead to the extinction of the magnificent beasts in the Scandinavian country.
Torbjorn Nilsson, the President of the Swedish Association predators, hit out against the ruling as he said the Swedish wolf population was already so low it could compromise its future in the wild.
He said: “I think it’s an unfortunate and surprising decision.
“It is unfortunate because the wolf population is still quite small, very inbred and too isolated. Therefore, one should not hunt in this way.”
Hunters have been given permission from January 2 to hunt across four counties; six in Värmland, six in territory shared between Värmland and Örebro, six in Dalarna and six in the Gavleborg.
Animal activists have also hit out against the ruling, in fear of dogs being used for pack hunting on the stunning predators.
Branding it as unethical because it causes unnecessary suffering before the wolf is shot, Jan Bergstam of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, said: “If a lonely pup gets three dogs after it I think it’s unethical.
“When other countries prohibit pack hunting, Sweden shouldn’t start.”
Hitting back at the criticism, Maria Falkevik of the County Administrative Board of Värmland, said the biggest risk of pack hunting would be posed to the dogs, not the wolves.
“I would say the biggest risk would be to the dog, or the dogs, in this case.
“There are practical circumstances that control how one uses the dogs. And any form of pack hunting is out of the question in Sweden, it is not used on any wild animal. Besides, one must always take care that wildlife isn’t subjected to unnecessary suffering during the hunt.
“Most of this is regulated by law.”
The controversial decision in Sweden comes after outrage erupted in neighbouring Norway in September after the department for wildlife sanctioned the death of 70 per cent of the country’s wolf population.
Torbjorn Nilsson, the President of the Swedish Association predators, hit out against the ruling
Norway’s wolf population only counts 65-68 animals and so animal and environmental campaigners condemned the decision to put down 47 of the predators – branding it a slaughter.
At the time, Silje Lundberg, the interim leader of Naturvernforbundet, Norway’s largest environmental organisation, said: “It is unbelievable that the department with open eyes can decide to shoot 47 wolves of a population of just 65-68 animals.
“It is terrifying that such most extremist attitudes are dictating [Norway’s] wildlife politics.”
To the great rejoice of animal and environmental campaigners, the decision to shot 47 wolves was thrown out by the legislation department of the Justice Ministry in December.
The ruling means only 15 predators will be put down in 2017.