PETITION TARGETS: European Commission, Court of Justice of the European Union, Swedish Government
Massive numbers of endangered wolves in Sweden are facing brutal death by high-powered rifles after an ill-advised government directive authorized the largest slaughter in recent history.
The Swedish government is allowing the deaths of up to 75 endangered wolves — nearly a quarter of the estimated remaining population — during night and daytime hunts while the keystone species is in their lairs with their families.
Only about 460 wild Scandinavian wolves remain in Norway and Sweden, where they are respectively critically endangered and severely endangered. Due to that low number, pack members have demonstrated isolated genetic diversity and resorted to inbreeding — with resulting small litter sizes, reproductive disorders, and other biological defects, according to Science.
Those threats alone could lead to the extinction of the species, experts warned, while local conservation groups also condemned the newest hunt’s goal of removing dozens of apex predators as “disastrous for the entire ecosystem.”
Conservation experts advise at least 500 wolves to keep populations stable, healthy, and in alignment with European Union (EU) conservation directives. Sweden’s authorized hunt on paper would drop wolf numbers down to 385 members — already a dangerously low population size.
But there’s further pressure from the European Parliament — influenced by powerful lobbying groups, according to news reports — to slash that number to 170 wolves.
The Swedish government already is facing open conservation infringement cases for wolf hunts allowed from 2010 through 2015, with the European Commission officially warning that the “management” had not considered satisfactory alternatives, not ensured that licensed hunts were taken under strictly supervised conditions, and not proven that the slaughters would not threaten the growth of the local wolf populations to “favourable conservation status.”
Science and evidence don’t back the decision to allow a massacre of Sweden’s endangered wolves — or the lowered threshold of how many are allowed to exist in their natural environment. This horrific persecution must stop.
Sign our petition urging Sweden to prioritize more effective, nonlethal solutions — including aiding farmers to implement preventative measures, such as protective fencing — and also help wolves expand their range to increase their biodiversity. We’re also asking the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union to intervene and stop these hunts, which could push an already imperiled species to extinction.