Hunting is not a solution. Neither for wolves nor for bears

2011 - 11 - 09
Hunting is not a solution. Neither for wolves nor for bears.

The European Wildlife conservation organisation calls on the governments of Sweden and Bulgaria to a permanent stop the hunting of large carnivores in their territories. Sweden re-established wolf hunting in 2010 after forty-five years. This year, in the mid of September the hunting of wolves was though stalled because of the European Union criticism, but they want to continue it next year. Bulgaria set this year an annual brown bear hunting quota for the first time. Bears killing was strictly banned for more than twenty years in Bulgaria, except in cases of accidents and with special permits distributed on a case-by-case basis.

“In a large part of Europe, both wolves and bears are still an exterminated or severely endangered species. It is thus very unfortunate that Sweden and Bulgaria have permitted the shooting of these large beasts of prey at a moment when their populations in the territory of these two states had begun to recover and grow,” states Dalibor Dostal, director of the European Wildlife conservation organisation. The organisation has sent a letter to the prime ministers of both countries, asking them to reassess their approach to the hunting of large carnivores.

“Hunting is not a solution. Instead, all European states should speed up steps leading to the cross-border interconnection of national parks and other large protected territories by means of functioning wildlife-corridors, so that endangered animal species including large beasts of prey can migrate from areas where their numbers are higher to areas offering them plenty of free space to live,” Dalibor Dostal added.

Wolves had almost been exterminated in southern Scandinavia; therefore their hunting had been prohibited since the 1965-1966 season. Sweden and Norway co-operated together in an effort to bring these predators back to the wild again in the area along their borders. When Norway permitted the culling of several wolves in 2001 because their population had allegedly increased, Sweden raised a protest.

However, some time ago the Swedish Parliament also decided that 210 wolves at most may live in the wild and their hunting has been permitted in Sweden since 2010. In the first season hunters could shoot up to twenty-seven of these animals. Nevertheless, according to Swedish media and conservationists, hunters exceeded the permitted limit of hunted animals in some areas. And this year next nineteen wolves were killed by hunters during the second season.

In Bulgaria, hunters may shoot brown bears this year for the first time in more than twenty years. The government has issued permission for the shooting of seventeen of these animals. Around 550 bears currently live in Bulgaria. Five bears were killed in the first part of the hunting season. The other part of the hunting season in Bulgaria started in the middle of September.

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