Sweden Facing Wolf Problems, Allowing Hunt

Who says we have nothing in common with Europeans? Seems the United States isn't the only nation experiencing a wolf hunting controversy. Sweden is set to allow a wolf hunt this year, and canine crusaders are howling foul.

From this AP story:
Swedish authorities announced on Friday hunters will be allowed to cull 20 wolves next year, despite harsh criticism of this year's hunt, the first in nearly half a century. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency said that between January 15 and February 15 licensed hunters will be permitted to shoot 20 wolves, down from the quota of 27 animals this year. The Swedish parliament decided last year to limit the wolf population to 210 animals, spread out in 20 packs, with 20 new pups per year, for a period of five years by issuing hunting permits in regions where wolves have recently reproduced. That number still stands.It was important to keep the quota low "to not strain the population more than necessary to reach the parliament's target," agency chief Maria Aagren said in a statement.
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_This year's hunt, when all 27 wolves were killed in just the first four days of the season, was the first since 1964. The hunt was blasted by ecologists as rushed, cruel and lacking coordination, as some 12,000 hunters had been granted permits to kill the 27 animals. Environmental group WWF also strongly criticised Friday's decision, insisting it "lacks a scientific basis," and maintaining that the hunt was "random" and risked killing off "a large number of genetically valuable animals."

"It is surprising that the wolf hunt will be permitted," Tom Arnbom, head of WWF's predator division, wrote in a statement, insisting the hunt would do little to improve the problems posed by inbreeding within the Swedish wolf population. "Today the government has decided in favour of a widespread hunt, but without providing any suggestions of how the wolf population should be strengthened genetically," he said. Monica Eriksson of the environmental protection agency however insisted to AFP there was nothing random about the hunt.

Thoughts?