Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sweden´s leading wolf researchers highly critical towards the genetic justification of the wolf hunting in Sweden

Sweden's leading wolf researchers are highly critical of the environment minister Andreas Carlgren justifying this year's hunting of wolves by "bad genes"

Female wolf killed right outside Kristinehamn on the very first day the ban was lifted, January 2, 2010

"It created an expectation that all shot animals would be deformed, which is a total misconception, "says Olof Liberg, coordinator of the wolf research project Skandulv.

In both opinion articles and interviews, Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren reasoned decision of the Government for the first time in almost fifty years, the general hunting in 27 wolves in wolves are not genetically healthy. He adds, moreover, that the rapid growth of genetically diseased wolves threaten to jeopardize the objective of the whole predator policy.

This year's hunting of wolves is largely completed. The dead wolves have been sent to National Veterinary Institute for analysis.

It's healthy and beautiful animals broadly, "says Carl Hård af Segerstad, Head of Unit at SVA.But it is not at all with the picture that the wolves are sick, creating debate.

So far, we dissect 24 animals. We've found a few little things but nothing serious, "said Carl Hård af Segerstad.

According to Olof Liberg, it is also exactly what the researchers had expected.

Carlgren has spread this misconception by his talk about the replacement of diseased wolves, "says Olof Liberg.

Previous studies have shown that about 10 percent of the wolves carry an abnormality. But the most serious effect is on reproduction. Litter size, the amount and persistence has been associated with inbreeding, "says Olof Liberg.

Hans Ellegren, professor of evolutionary biology at Uppsala University, has long followed the Swedish wolf. Nor does he see that inbreeding among the wolves is an argument for hunting. On the contrary, reduces the genetic variation in the stem for each animal shot.

As long as the strain is so small you can not scientifically justify hunting, "says Hans Ellegren.

Therefore, researchers agree that the most important measure of the wolf's future is to move into new wolves.

The hunt is only one way to get a wider acceptance of wolves, "says Olof Liberg.

According to parliamentary decision last fall to more than 20 wolves in the coming years to be the Swedish population. In the first instance, wolves who voluntarily walks into Sweden in the north moves southward. In the alternative might be required for import of wolves.

It becomes difficult to gain acceptance locally to release new wolves in an area, "said Susanna Löfgren, responsible for wildlife management in the Environmental Protection Agency.

Environment Andreas Carlgren is on holiday abroad and have chosen not to comment on criticism from the scientific direction.

author: Annika Nilsson, annika.nilsson @

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