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 Sweden to cull struggling wolf population infographic
Graphic shows Scandinavian wolf population and compares it to other European countries.


Sweden to cull struggling wolf population

By Phil Bainbridge

January 2, 2023 - Swedish hunters begin the biggest wolf cull in decades despite warnings from scientists that the wolf population is already far too low and threatened by inbreeding.

Sweden and Norway have a cross-border population of around 460 Scandinavian wolves but the Swedish government wants to cut the number to 170, after it instructed the state environmental protection agency to re-examine the recommended numbers, claiming that the level of conflict between humans and wolves is increasing, and public acceptance of the wolf population decreasing. In Norway the government allows for a maximum of just 4-6 new pups each year, with the remainder open to hunting.

Conservation groups believe parliament is simply appealing to the powerful hunting lobby, who they claim also have designs on the lynx and bear, and that the majority of Swedes like the presence of wolves. They have argued that the cull breaks the Bern Convention on biodiversity and is not supported by any science. They claim the Swedish habitat could comfortably support a population of over 1,000 wolves and that the ideal in terms of genetic diversity would be around 1,500.

The Scandinavian wolf is on the endangered species list, and scientists have warned that the population is already suffering from a lack of genetic variation, with inbreeding causing smaller litter sizes, anatomical defects and reproductive disorders.

PUBLISHED: 03/01/2023; STORY: Graphic News