Saturday, December 22, 2012
SE: EU cuts the plans for wolf hunting
STOCKHOLM / TT There will be no hunting of wolves in Sweden this winter – the European Commission has its way. In a letter to Environment Minister Lena Ek (C) EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik directs strong criticism against the Swedish management plan for wolves. It makes Ek upset.
Potocnik writes that the plan failed to explain how the wolf population will reach favorable conservation status, and urges the government to maintain the current prohibition on hunting.
Janez Potocnik concludes his letter to Environment Minister by saying that “a new game would not be in line with Sweden’s obligations under EU Species and Habitats directive.”
Lena Ek, who had hopes of a limited hunting of wolves will again become a reality this winter, says she is upset by the Potočnik letter.
“I am extremely angry. We have tried to find a balance between conservation interests and the frustration that people feel in wolf areas, but the Commission acts solely on conservation interests”, says Ek.
She has now asked the Environmental Protection Agency to analyze the letter to see how to proceed. She still hopes to obtain an understanding for a hunt in the winter. But if a hunt would happen, without the EU’s approval, the risk is obvious that Sweden would be brought before the EU courts.
Ann Dahlerus, Secretary General of the Swedish predators Association, says she can not see any reason to launch a wolf hunting in the winter.
“The Carnivore Association was one of the organizations that made the report to the European Commission. The reason was that there is no opportunity to appeal the decision in a court regarding hunting in Sweden”, she says. She says that Ek and the Centre Party are out to fish for votes among “the people who are most negative wolves in the country.”
“Actually, it’s pretty sad that the Commission should have to go in and fix up this policy in Sweden and the Swedish politicians can not achieve a wolf policy that is sustainable and sensible”, says Ann Dahlerus.
Torbjorn Lövbom, president of the Hunters Association predatory advisory committee, agrees with Ek in her criticism of the EU Commission. He wants to see a targeted hunt against wolves “that do not improve the strain through improved genetics.” He also thinks that decisions must be taken close to those most affected.
“I find it surprising that now the Commission and conservation side – who wrote to the Commission on the issue – do not take the opportunity to improve the genetics of the wolf population. You choose a path where both increasing polarization in wolf debate and impair the ability of the wolf population’s long-term survival”, he says.