Wolves in Sweden


Sweden is thought to be home to a total wolf population of about 200 animals. These low numbers haven’t stopped the Swedish authorities from allowing  20 wolves to be hunted a year since 2010.

Wolves in Sweden

After centuries of persecution, the wolf was finally driven to extinction in Sweden in the 1970s. But, for this most resilient and wild-spirited of animals its Swedish story was not over, and in 1977 wolves again began to appear in Sweden. DNA analysis has shown that these wolves originally crossed over from Finland and Russia. Since then they have gradually increased in population, especially in central Sweden.

The Scandinavian wolf population grew by around 25% in the 1990s, and in 2005 Sweden’s wolf population was put at around 150 – more wolves than there have been in Scandinavia for almost 100 years. The wolf is an animal that inspires strong feelings on both sides, a symbol of the wilderness and untamed natural forces, but through careful conservation measures and ongoing education, the future looks much brighter than it did.

Large-scale killing of critically endangered wolves in Sweden

Photo: Magnus Elander / www.de5stora.com

Sweden is now leaving its position since decades as an environmental forerunner. The on-going killing of critically endangered wolves risks to severely harming the already small and inbred wolf population of Sweden. We ask for support from an international opinion in order to stop the government from continuing the killing, says Dr. Mikael Karlsson, President of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, the largest and oldest environmental organisation in Sweden.

The present wolf hunting in Sweden is based on a proposition from the Swedish government, implemented by an EPA decision, allowing 27 wolves to be killed in order to keep the population below 210 individuals. The wolf population is red-listed by scientists to be critically endangered in Sweden. As many as 20 other European countries have higher densities of wolves per surface unit than Sweden, all of which also have higher population density.

BBC News – Sweden wolf hunt brings EU legal threat

The European Commission plans to take legal action against Sweden over a wolf hunt that allegedly breaches EU law. Sweden is allowing hunters to shoot a total of 20 wolves this year. It reintroduced the wolf hunt in 2010 – the first in Sweden since 1964. But the EU says wolves in Sweden have an “unfavourable conservation status”.

BBC News – Sweden culls its resurgent wolves (Jan 2010)

Swedish hunters have begun culling wolves for the first time in 45 years after parliament ruled that numbers needed to be reduced again. More than half the quota of 27 may have died on the first day alone with nine shot dead in Dalarna and up to nine killed in Varmland, Swedish radio says. Hunters have until 15 February to complete the cull, which will leave Sweden with an estimated 210 wolves.Some 10,000 hunters were reported to be planning to take part in the hunt.

Wolf watching in Sweden

On this extraordinary forest adventure, you will travel on foot and by car through one of the country’s most active wolf territories escorted by a skilled local guide. The experience offers you very good chances to hear and howl along with a wolf pack, to see their tracks and feel their presence in the surrounding wilderness. Hearing the howls of a wolf pack in its natural habitat is a unique and spine-tingling sensation.