Wolves liquidated after Swedish zoo escape

An entire pack of wolves has been liquidated at a Swedish wildlife park after escaping from their sanctuary. The incident occurred just days after a controversial nationwide hunt to cull wolves.

Wolves liquidated after Swedish zoo escape

The twelve animals had managed to tear down a fence enclosing their sanctuary and were roaming around freely in Skåne Wildlife Park (Skånes Djurpark) during visiting hours. The public was evacuated, and the entire pack was shot, according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The shootings happened only days after Sweden’s first nationwide wolf cull in 45 years came to an end. An estimated 12,000 hunters were granted permits to pursue 27 wolves described by the Swedish Government as “genetically degraded” because of inbreeding. The hunt was heavily criticized by animal rights activists and local officials.

A park spokesman said the situation was extremely dangerous, although he added that the public was not at risk. “This was unbelievably tragic and stressful,” said Foreman Johan Lindström. “We think we dealt with this in the right way.”

“We are very, very saddened,” said Lindström. “It isn’t easy to build up an entire flock and takes several years.”

Skåne Wildlife Park near the south Swedish town of Hörby is the world’s largest of its type, with more than 800 wild and domesticated Nordic animals representing around 80 species. The park attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually.

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Spain moves to ban wolf hunting and give species protected status

Spain has taken steps to award the Iberian wolf protected status which will mean a complete ban on hunting the species.

Spain moves to ban wolf hunting and give species protected status
Photo: Mark Chinnick/Flickr

The Committee of Spain’s Natural Patrimony – which includes representatives from each of Spain’s regional governments – voted to include the wolf (Canis Lupus) on the national list of protected species along with the Iberian Lynx and the Cantabrian Brown Bear.

It now has to be signed off by Environmental minister Teresa Ribera.

Farmers however were quick to condemn the move, arguing that a nationwide hunting ban would lead to more attacks on their livestock.

Hunting of the Iberian wolf is currently only allowed north of the Duero but those populations south of the river were already listed as a protected species.

Spain is home to an estimated 1,500-2,000 Iberian wolves, with 90 percent of the population found in the northern regions of Castilla y León, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia.

But wolf populations have been detected even within the Madrid region in the sierra less than an hour’s drive from the capital.

Farmers Union UPA accused the government of igoing against the interests of farmers and insist that the number of attacks on livestock have grown alongside wolf conservation programmes.

“It is we livestock farmers who are in danger of extinction,” it said in a statement.  

Conservation group Ecologists in Action however, welcomed the new protection but urged authorities to work with farmers on ways to protect cattle without harming wolves.