In a German magazine for hunters it says soberly “lynx hunt in Sweden begins”. What seems unusual to non-hunters in this country, since lynx are very rare and heavily protected here, is normal in the Scandinavian country. The vast country with its extensive forests is home to comparatively large lynx populations.

Exceptional – also from a Swedish point of view – is the high number of wild cats that can be shot this time. Sweden has licensed hunters to kill a total of 201 of the animals. According to the reports, this is more than twice as much as in previous years. The reason given is that the number of lynxes has recently increased in Sweden, although this is doubted by other sources.

The “Hunter Magazine” explains that each administrative district has set its own lynx quota. Not all would have increased the quotas. In addition, shots must be shot according to strict specifications. Females with adult cubs should “remain as unmolested as possible,” they say. In addition, in many parts of the country only certain types of lead-free ammunition may be used – to protect water bodies and wetlands.

The lynx hunting season in Sweden started on March 1st. The fact that there is information about this in a specialist journal in Germany should indicate that there is also a demand for hunting lynx in Sweden in this country.

This is where the massive criticism of the regulation that nature and species conservationists are currently expressing begins. “It’s a trophy hunt, just like the lion hunt in Africa,” Magnus Orrebrant from the animal welfare organization Svenska Rovdjursföreningen told the Guardian. Hundreds of foreign hunters come to Sweden “because they think it’s exciting”. His organization has started a petition entitled ‘Stop trophy hunting of lynx in Sweden’.

Observers suspect that hunters would also have a strong interest in shooting the animals because their fur is particularly beautiful and dense in winter. The critics see a breach of international environmental protection laws and call on the European Union to take action against lynx hunting. It is also particularly bad that the hunt takes place precisely during the short mating season of the animals.

The cats would be chased and cornered with dogs until they were an easy target to shoot. That is cruel and unethical. In addition, adolescent lynxes keep losing their mother animals, which makes their survival more difficult.

According to the reports, many nature conservationists in Sweden do not have a general problem with the lynx hunt, but only with how massive it is taking place this year.

Lynx are internationally protected though. However, the concrete implementation also depends on the population of the animals in the respective regions. In Germany, for example, the big pisel-eared cats are among the strictly protected species under the Federal Nature Conservation Act, and great efforts are being made to reintroduce them through special reintroduction programs. The animals are also considered endangered in a number of other European countries.

In theory, lynx hunting would also be possible here. Because it is listed as a huntable species in the Federal Hunting Act, but has no hunting season. This means that hunting is prohibited all year round.

In Sweden, where there are said to be around 1,450 of these big cats, the hunt is justified by the fact that the cats, which can weigh up to 40 kilos, kill livestock. According to EU law, animals that are protected in principle may also be hunted in exceptional cases, for example if damage to farm animals is to be avoided or it is in the interests of public safety. The hunters argue that the aim is to protect sheep and reindeer kept by the Sami people.

However, the Swedish hunters’ association Svenska Jägareförbundet admitted to the “Guardian” that lynxes pose no danger to humans. The same applies to the wolf hunt in Sweden, which had also assumed massive proportions this year. “The lynx hunt is more about the appeal,” the newspaper quoted an adviser to the hunting association as saying. “And for some hunters, the fur is the motivation.”

Source: “The Guardian”, ORF, “Hunter Magazine”, “”, German Hunting Association, Nabu, petition at “”

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