Monday, 11 June 2018

How to achieve a peaceful coexistence between wolves and humans

Date:  June 1, 2018
Source:  FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

The persecution of wolves in order to remove them from human settlements has culminated in their near-disappearance in numerous European countries, like Spain and Sweden. Following a recovery of the species, a team of scientists has determined what geographic areas in the Scandinavian country would be most suitable for a redistribution of the specie's range, in the interests of increasing the social acceptance of wolves.

The conflict between wolves and humans is a fight over territory and livestock. This centuries-long struggle has led to the near extinction of this great carnivore in 1970s Spain, as well as in other countries such as Sweden in the middle of the last century. In the 60s, there were no breeding populations in Sweden and only 10 specimens extant in Scandinavia.

It is for this reason that, in 1966, the Swedish government formally protected the species in a country where 70% of its surface is characterized by large forests, most of them intended for trade.

Of the 438,600 km2 of the country, only 3% has buildings and 8% corresponds to agriculture. Under government protection, the first reproduction of wolves took place in 1978 and the population began to grow about fifteen years later. At present, the population of Swedish wolves exceeds 400 individuals.

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