Lynx hunt reported to the EU

Sweden’s excessive lynx hunt was recently reported to the EU Commission.
A formal complaint about it was lodged on March 15, 2024 in Brussels, by the Swedish Carnivore Association. This important case will be thoroughly followed up over the months to come.

The Swedish Carnivore Association says:

The “licensed hunt” of lynx violates the species protection rules in the EU’s Habitats Directive. The Lynx is listed in Annex 4 of the Habitats Directive and is among the species that shall be guaranteed strict protection against intentional killings under Article 12 of the Directive. Hunting involves deliberate killing, and is therefore not permitted, except for strict culling of problem individuals. Nevertheless, Sweden conducts an annual massive hunt for hundreds of lynx, out of a limited population. Officially about 1,400 lynx in October the year before the hunt. This is to compare with the comparatively smaller country Finland, which has more than 2,200 adult lynx.

Why a licensed hunt?

In Sweden, hunting is strongly promoted by the hunters’ organisations, mainly because the lynx competes with humans about the deer, and for the trophy value and enjoyment of the hunt. Because of this, Sweden has not introduced the rules of the EU Directive to strictly protect the lynx. In the EU Directive there is no support for annual hunts of hundreds of lynxes per year, which Sweden has carried out for many years.

The values of a natural lynx population

Hunting lynx is also counterproductive for society taken as a whole. A more natural population of lynx in Sweden would promote nature tourism, reduce risks for wildlife road traffic accidents, reduce grazing pressure, and keep roe deer populations stronger. The lynx is a minor problem for livestock owners in the southern parts of the country, since very few sheep per year are killed by lynx.