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article imageFirst Swedish wolf cull in 45 years underway

By Bob Ewing     Jan 2, 2010 in World
The hunt was launched after the Swedish parliament ruled there were too many wolves and a cull was needed to reduce numbers.
The cull is on until February 15. The BBC reports over half the quota of 27 may have died on the first day alone. It is estimated that at least 10,000 hunters will be taking part and when the culling is complete there will be an estimated 210 wolves in Sweden.
When a hunter shoots a wolf, a report must be filed so that a record of the cull can be made. The end of the hunt takes place before mating season begins mid-February.
Every time a hunter shoots and hits a wolf he has to report it to the county authorities, so they can keep track of the local cull.
"There's a lot of regulation, hunters have to check the quota every hour," Gunnar Gloersson, of the Swedish Hunters Association, told Swedish radio.
Not everyone supports the cull; the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation claims the cull goes against EU legislation as the Swedish wolf population had not reached a healthy level.
The organization has apparently launched a formal complaint to the EU Commission.
In previous years Norway and Sweden cooperated in efforts to reintroduce the species to the forests along their border. In 2001, Sweden protested after Norway ran a wolf cull.
However, Sweden recently decided that a wolf population of 210 was sufficient.
But the Swedish parliament recently decided there should be at most 210 wolves in Sweden.
Michael Schneider of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency told the BBC that this level was reached in 2009 and since then more than 20 pairs of wolves have had pups.
"We have to remove this increase to keep the population at this level," he said.
Gloersson said to the BBC, "We have a lot of problems with wolves - in reindeer areas, with livestock, and for hunters they kill our valuable dogs."
"Since they came back we have to live with them, but we have to keep their numbers down."
"The only easy way to hunt wolves is if we have snow, so the hunters can track them on the snow. If we don't have snow I don't think we'll even be able to reach the quota of 27 wolves," he added.
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