A wolf cull is underway in Sweden for the first time in 45 years after parliament called for the predators’ numbers to be reduced.
Hunters have until February 15 to complete the cull of 27 wolves, with as many as 23 killed on the first day.
The hunt has been timed to take place before the mating season begins in mid-February with the authorities putting a limit on the population of 210 animals.
Wolves were hunted close to extinction in southern Scandinavia until a hunting ban was imposed in the 1970s.
Not every one is happy with the decision.
“It’s not true there are not too many wolves in Sweden compared to other countries,” said
the World Wide Fund’s Tom Arnbom. “This is 27 wolves, over 10 percent and then there is the illegal hunting on top of that.”
However, some hunters believe this is a chance to rid the forests of a dangerous pest.
Spokesman for the hunters, Lennart Johannesson, said: “It’s important that those who have had trouble with wolves get the chance to shoot them.”
The cull is against European Union regulations as the Swedish wolf population has not yet reached healthy levels. The EU is expected to lodge a formal complaint.