The Swedish government predicts a huge slaughter of lynxes, after the one involving hundreds of wolves weeks ago. Specifically, the Swedish government has given hunters permission to shoot a total of 201 lynxes. Lynx once widespread throughout Europe, but the populations have been exterminated as and worse than those of wolves.
This has led them to complete extinction in several countries, while in others very few specimens remain. Suffice it to say that of the Iberian lynx or Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) there are only about 500 specimens left. The EU Habitats Directive specifies that hunting of this kind can only be permitted to prevent damage to livestock or in the interest of public safety.
Benny Gafwert, WWF expert on predators, explained: "It is "strongly questionable whether any of these conditions apply to the lynx in Sweden. We do not think hunters can invoke these exceptions and have informed the European Commission." About 1,450 lynxes live in Sweden, about 300 fewer than 10 years ago.
But Naturvardsverket, Sweden's environmental protection agency, says the country only needs 870 wild cats to maintain a healthy population. An assessment that has not served to appease the criticisms of animal rights activists and others.
Shock in Sweden: the country will kill hundreds of lynxes
The Swedish hunters' association, Svenska Jagareforbundet, has admitted that the lynx poses no danger to humans. However, the Conservative government in Stockholm has decided to issue a number of logging licenses for the month of March alone which amounts to more than double the permits granted in recent years.
The measure, which immediately sparked strong protests from animal rights groups, comes just weeks after dozens of wolves were killed in the largest cull of the wildlife in the country in decades.
Magnus Orrebrant, leader of a Swedish animal rights group, told: "This is a trophy hunt, just like going to Africa to hunt lions. Hundreds of foreign hunters come to Sweden to hunt lynx because they think lynx hunting takes place during the mating season, when the animal's fur is at its thickest, making it particularly attractive to hunters."