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Sweden halts official wolf hunt

Aug. 18, 2011 at 4:26 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Sweden says it has halted a controversial licensed wolf hunt meant to cull the animals that have been attacking livestock.

The Swedish government said it would consider resuming the hunt in the winter of 2012-2013, while announcing it was removing a previously set ceiling of 210 wolves that can be culled each year for wildlife management purposes.

That would not mean an unlimited number of wolves would be culled in Sweden, a government minister said.

"Of course not. We will reach a favorable conservation status with as few wolves culled as possible," Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren told Swedish news agency TT Wednesday.

Any increase in culling would come only out of safety considerations of any growing danger to people living in wolf-inhabited areas or an increase in attacks on livestock, he said.

"Sweden's policy on predators must be carried out with great consideration and respect for those that take the consequences of living near predators, that is the local population."

Sweden's licensed hunt, the country's first in 45 years, faced legal action from the European Union for violating directives, resulting in the decision to cancel, the New Europe weekly reported.

The Federation of Swedish Farmers, which last year secured the reintroduction of wolf hunts via strong lobbying, strongly criticized the government's decision to stop this year's hunt.

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