During this year’s licensed lynx hunt, 201 animals will be killed, a figure that has drawn strong criticism because of the lynx’s vulnerable status as a species. Meanwhile, thousands of hunters from several countries have signed up for the hunt, which has already killed over 90 lynx.
The license hunt for lynx in Sweden began on 1 March and runs until 15 April. This year, the Swedish County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) has decided that 201 lynx can be killed, which is almost twice as many compared to last year when a total of 110 animals were killed. There are only about 1440 lynx left in Sweden and they are both protected and red-listed, which means that the species is in a very vulnerable state.
Thousands of hunters have signed up to hunt lynx and there are also a number of foreign hunters who have come from Denmark, Norway, Germany and Austria.
However, this year’s hunt has received strong criticism from a number of quarters. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) “regrets” the hunt and says that the growth of the Swedish lynx population is slow and that hunting, together with illegal hunting, is the main cause of death for lynx.
The reason for hunting lynx is to regulate populations, as they can cause damage to domestic animals and reindeer. Benny Gäfvert, predator expert at WWF, says that lynx attacks on domestic animals cannot be measured in relation to how many lynx will be killed this year.
– Apart from reindeer in northern Sweden, the number of lynx attacks on domestic animals is relatively few and usually involves single individuals. “The shy feline prefers to stay away from us humans and you should be happy if you manage to see one, he says in a press release.
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation also believes that lynx have an important function in the ecosystem by, for example, keeping deer populations down, which in itself contributes to saving costs for society.
– In general, lynx have no negative impact on either domestic animals or dogs. They are also not dangerous to humans. Lynx have an important function in the ecosystem, and by hunting deer and roe deer, society saves costs in the form of traffic accidents and grazing damage, says Isak Isaksson, expert biologist at the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
However, the Nature Conservation Society believes that this conflicts with the interests of the hunters’ association, as they themselves want to hunt both deer and roe deer. However, a survey from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Umeå University in 2021 shows that lynx hunting is not particularly accepted by the public in Sweden, with 74 percent completely or partially opposed to it.
At the time of writing, 96 lynx have been killed, according to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s database.