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Homescience"Appropriate game strains...

“Appropriate game strains are a polarizing issue”

Torsten Nilsson, President of Jägareförbundet Uppsala län.

Game management means that “Attention should be given to the game in order to temporarily preserve the types of game that belong to the game community in the country and the species of birds that naturally exist in the country, and to promote the appropriate development of the game stocks in the public and private interests.”.

What is the appropriate development of game strains in relation to public and individual interests has biological, economic and political aspects.

Wild animals often compete with us humans for nature’s resources.

The conflict between humans and wildlife is old and still a reality. Something that we sometimes encounter as an annoying damage to a game. The damage is often much more than well balanced by the valuable ecosystem services that the game pose.

Way forward

Through the management of the active game where the game receives protection and support and the catch is adapted to the offer, understanding and mutual respect prevail between the parties involved, usually solutions and a way forward are found.

In nature conservation, the red list is often highlighted. The list is an assessment of the risk of extinction of the species, to support the assessment of game lineages.

Since the list is based on several different criteria, for example, reducing stocks from a previously high level to a lower level, but with a good general spread can lead to misleading conclusions and unwarranted catastrophic warnings.

Blunt tool

Thus regular species can be included in the red list, although they are seen everywhere. For example, ravens, due to the fact that the population has decreased sharply in a short time.

Sometimes, a species ends up on the red list because of the extreme human-made population size to the long-term natural population level, as is the case with the country’s elk population.

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This makes the Red List a blunt and sometimes highly questionable tool for assessing the actual development of the game’s stocks.

It would then be a mistake to use the red list uncritically to restrict hunting of one species in whole or in part, if the reasons for its appearance on the list were another, and continued hunting instead became an incentive for the active care of the species.

Many considerations

The relationship between humans and the wild cannot be approached solely on the basis of conserved diversity and favorable conservation status. Something that has been totally focused on in recent years. Not least in the polarized view of the country’s wolf population.

The game and the humans must also be balanced based on several other considerations. Including public health and safety, including causes of a social or economic nature and their significant positive consequences for the environment. As well as to prevent serious damage, especially to crops, livestock, forests, fishing, water or other property, or to protect wild animals or plants or to preserve the habitats of these animals or plants.

The game is properly managed as a huge resource for the whole country. Not only through bushmeat, but also through experiences that improve the quality of life for many people. The game simply improves overall health.

Resources to manage

For a landowner and hunter with families, but also economically, the game is a sustainable renewable resource of great economic value. A resource that cannot simply be taken for granted but must be managed wisely.

If not, the resources could alternatively be turned into pure devastation, but where it has been proven that the prudent management of wildlife by the country’s hunting teams for decades has contributed to the preservation or creation of biological diversity.

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When the balance changes, public health and safety are seen as being threatened, serious financial damage occurs and wild animals or their habitats change sharply, and this naturally leads to reactions from those involved.

New conflict

This is what has happened and is increasingly happening in the wake of the increase in predator breeds. Especially with wolves, where predator policy lacks broad acceptance among those who bear the consequences of it, where there is a lack of predictability and clarity and where political decisions are reinterpreted at the goal level at the governmental level.

This has led to a new dimension of conflict, “human-human, over wild predators”, which is much more difficult to deal with than the conflict between human and only game.

Rarely is the ability to reverse issues that are ideologically blocked by objective facts. If you don’t live in the same reality, realism and plausibility will remain no more than just vague concepts.

If there is also a lack of personal experience and a deeper knowledge of living with large predators in their everyday habitat, it becomes more abstract.

No risks

You never risk losing yourself, whether in quality of life, pets or dogs, or having to live in constant anxiety, which makes it easy to uphold clear and consistent perceptions that nature behaves better without human regulatory intervention.

After all the years of polarized arguments about a predator, we have not gone further than the existence of people who refuse to take off their blinders, see reality as it is, or even try to understand other people’s fears, experiences, experiences, or the societal costs of others.

Against this background, there are Riksdag politicians who think and have opinions about Swedish wolf management in particular, but also about hunting in general, not surprisingly now. Nor do they seek support for their opinions from any unanimous body of researchers.

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Then at the same time we say that one is defending legal certainty and scientific decisions are not credible. Democratic decisions are completely irrelevant in this context.

The truth of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

A number of concepts: minimum habitable population (MVP) or reference value (favorable conservation state – GYBS) in this context become important bats of opinion.

The reference value for wolves in Sweden is not something purely scientific. One part is science, MVP, to which I have since added an arbitrarily higher ambition.

Thus, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s finding in this regard in terms of the smaller size of the wolf population in the country will not be a reliable fact. A sectoral authority, contrary to the previous position of the Swedish Parliament, reported a reference value of 300 wolves to the European Union over the next six years.

Who is responsible?

Science is not a matter of compromise, but something that can be repeatedly measured and calculated with comparable results.

170 wolves (200 in Scandinavia) can be considered as a reference value, on the other hand, they have scientific support and may also contribute to increased acceptance of the people involved. In addition, it has a political basis.

Should researchers with a scientific focus be allowed to interpret European Union law and define what ambition Sweden should have in managing wolves?

Or should the Riksdag’s explicit view of the appropriate size of the country’s wolf population, from 170 to 270 animals, be allowed by a government influenced by a small support party, leaving it to the authority to determine its higher reference value?

Suitable game breeds, at least when it comes to wolf type, will likely remain a polarization issue.

Torsten Nelson

President of the Hunters Association of Uppsala County

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