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Hunting Effects on Favourable Conservation Status of Highly Inbred Swedish Wolves

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Abstract

The wolf (Canis lupus) is classified as endangered in Sweden by the Swedish Species Information Centre, which is the official authority for threat classification. The present population, which was founded in the early 1980s, descends from 5 individuals. It is isolated and highly inbred, and on average individuals are more related than siblings. Hunts have been used by Swedish authorities during 2010 and 2011 to reduce the population size to its upper tolerable level of 210 wolves. European Union (EU) biodiversity legislation requires all member states to promote a concept called “favourable conservation status” (FCS) for a series of species including the wolf. Swedish national policy stipulates maintenance of viable populations with sufficient levels of genetic variation of all naturally occurring species. Hunting to reduce wolf numbers in Sweden is currently not in line with national and EU policy agreements and will make genetically based FCS criteria less achievable for this species. We suggest that to reach FCS for the wolf in Sweden the following criteria need to be met: (1) a well‐connected, large, subdivided wolf population over Scandinavia, Finland, and the Russian Karelia‐Kola region should be reestablished, (2) genetically effective size (Ne ) of this population is in the minimum range of Ne = 500–1000, (3) Sweden harbors a part of this total population that substantially contributes to the total Ne and that is large enough to not be classified as threatened genetically or according to IUCN criteria, and (4) average inbreeding levels in the Swedish population are <0.1.

Efectos de la Cacería sobre el Estatus de Conservación Favorable de Lobos Suecos con Endogamia Alta
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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