Sweden opens for massive killing of lynxes and endangered wolves
– In a regrettable decision, the Swedish parliament today opens for massive hunting of large carnivores, including red-listed lynxes and endangered wolves. In contrast to conclusions from the research community and governmental committees, the aim is now set to nearly half the wolf population. Sweden is no longer a green forerunner, says Dr. Mikael Karlsson, President of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, the largest environmental organisation in Sweden.
Sweden’s policy for large carnivores has recently been invested by two governmental committees. In the governmental Committee on Large Carnivores, the appointed international research panel suggest at least 700 wolves in Sweden to equate favourable conservation status, but the now adopted parliamentary objective is the range of 170-270 individuals. The governmental Wolf Committee proposed that the Environmental Protection Agency should define favourable conservation status, based on scientific findings, but the parliament now decided to do this itself.
– There is no scientific support for the figures adopted by the parliament. Decades of studies on the wolves in Sweden have been thrown overboard and replaced by an amazingly politicized process. Also when it comes to lynxes, bears, wolverines and golden eagle, the now politically adopted objectives, claiming to represent favourable conservation status, have no factual basis, says Jan Terstad, head of nature conservation at the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
Following a formal complaint from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and three other Swedish NGOs, the European Commission launched a formal infringement procedure against Sweden in 2011, for potentially violating the habitat directive (92/43/EEC). Since then, the Commission has repeatedly warned and criticized Sweden for its policy and licensed hunting of wolves.
– As I see it, the Commission has no other choice than taking Sweden to the Court of Justice of the European Union, if this new policy is carried through. The critical points raised in the infringement case have now been answered by weaker policies and arbitrary figures, not at all compatible will applicable law or precedent rulings, says Oscar Alarik, lawyer at the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
For further comments:
Mikael Karlsson, +46 70 316 27 22