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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

Support for hunting as a means of wolf Canis lupus population control in Sweden

Ericsson G, Heberlein TA, Karlsson J, Bjarvall A, Lundvall A


The recolonising wolf Canis lupus population has created conflicts in Scandinavia, and it will eventually be necessary to control wolf numbers if the population continues to grow. One mechanism for this is hunting. Under what circumstances will the Swedish public support hunting of wolves? We examined this question for the general public and for three stakeholder groups: all hunters, the public living in areas with wolf populations and hunters living in wolf population areas. A majority of all four groups found it acceptable to hunt wolves to reduce the risk of livestock depredation (53-91%), and if wolves had been coming into populated areas (54-86%). However, about one fifth of the Swedish public was neutral to any justification, so an extreme or a well-publicised event could alter the current levels of support. The majority in all groups did not support wolf hunting merely because people were afraid of them (22-46%), or because wolves compete with humans for game (11-45%). A majority of all hunters found wolf hunting to be justified if wolves were a threat to dogs in the area, but the majority of the general public even in the wolf population areas did not find this to be appropriate justification. Our study shows the importance of surveying stakeholder groups as well as the general public to develop sound and acceptable conservation and management plans for rebounding populations of large carnivores such as wolves

Published in

Wildlife Biology
2004, volume: 10, number: 4, pages: 269-276

Authors' information

Heberlein, Thomas
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Ecology
Karlsson, Jens (Frank, Jens)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Conservation Biology
Bjärvall, Anders
Lundvall, Anders

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

URI (permanent link to this page)