Update: Sweden to introduce major cull of apex predators, including Golden Eagle, Lynx, Wolverine, Bears and Wolves.

In October last year we published an article about Sweden’s intention to cull a number of major apex predators, including Golden Eagle, Lynx, wolverine, bears and wolves. We recently received an interesting comment which was too long from Karen Nichols who had lived in Sweden for 14 years. Because the comment Karen submitted was so interesting we have added what she wrote below as an article instead of the comment. You can also read hear the Raptor Politics story we published last year.

This is what Karen had to say:

This is a true political and cultural hot potato. I will try to explain what I have come to understand in the 14 years I have lived in Sweden. In my humble opinion this situation has its root cause in what I have come to tentatively describe as a “cultural endemic cognitive dissonance”, or some kind of mass schitzophrenia.


On the one hand, there are many Swedes who abhor mistreatment of life, particularly that of creatures who cannot affect their own fate (which is pretty much any non-human species). On the other hand there are those who subscribe to what I have come to believe is an endemic blood-thirst need in base humans. Killing other humans is against the law so killing other species is the way to go. There are still to many here (as in many other parts of the world I might add) who consider taking a life a “sport” as long as it’s not human because of course, that would be against the law. Which makes one wonder, if it were not against the law… But then things start to get even more complicated.

There is another rather curious Swedish cultural trait which is to strive to “save the world” from any number of “bad” things. One of which would include activities necessary for one to be seen as standing on a “moral high ground”. This makes people feel like they are “better” or “superior” morally to other cultures and many (particularly politicians) thrive on using this as sanctimonious springboard to make themselves look superior to other cultures from a moral standpoint. Yes it is an extremely egoistic and narrow-minded view but not surprising coming from politicians who spend most of their time marketing their image for the mere purpose of gaining votes.


Image courtesy of  Petr Šaj

This “image-building” has led politicians to jump to creating new legislation to support “noble” programs to, among other things, re-introduce extinct wolves into the wildlife population. So far so good. But as many politicians around the world are also known to act without thinking or “shooting from the hip”, not much thought is given to the actual consequences of said initiatives and much less on the effort and resources necessary to make such an initiative successful. After all, they are only interested in the headlines which is what wins votes.

Once such “lofty” legislation is passed and the major part of the population is duped into believing “we are doing a noble thing”, in comes the protests of the endemically bloodthirsty faction (in my opinion mentally ill, but that’s just my humble opinion) and the farmers who have livestock and are truly concerned about the welfare of their herds but not much information or support has been developed for them.


Image courtesy of  Tomáš Pospíšil 

In the face of this quandary, culling programs are scheduled. This is why there is never a really sound and logical reason for the programs or their quotas. Politicians will not openly admit that they are succumbing to pressure from certain groups of interest after all, nor will they admit to having introduced a program only for the dazzle effect and with no maintenance support. And finding a solution where all would be pleased is not in their agendas, only gaining votes is. So we then see ridiculous excuses such as “culling wolves to keep the population genetically healthy”, and other equally ludicrous justifications. When that is, any excuse is forthcoming at all.

The fact is, many Swedish politiciains seem to have a fundamental egocentric need to rub their false “sanctimonious values” in the faces of politicians from other cultures as a selfish ego-boosting activity and will endeavour to do so no matter what the cost to their wildlife, their own culture, population or country.

The biggest losers here, in this particular case (and there are other areas which fall victim to this practice), are the people these politicians have sworn to represent (and who BTW placed their trust on them to be true representatives of their values by giving them votes to begin with) and the defenceless wildlife which ultimately depend on the goodwill of us humans, a far from perfect reigining species.

In summary, Swedish politicians smell no better than their contemporaries in any country.

by Karen Nichols

1 comment to Update: Sweden to introduce major cull of apex predators, including Golden Eagle, Lynx, Wolverine, Bears and Wolves.

  • sue fleming

    This is just appalling!!! Why build up numbers just to yield to “certain pressures” & backtrack on their conservation project!! Sweden has been such an inspiration with their wildlife protection in these past years ,,, SO disappointed!!