Sámi – Sweden

Predation

Predators are a major cause of losses for reindeer herders and the predators issue is currently one of the main issues that the Swedish Sámi Organisation, SSR, is working with. Figures from Swedish University of Agricultural Science (Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet, SLU) indicate that 40 000-45 000 reindeer are killed by predators annually in Sweden and that it represents about 55 million SEK (5,17 M €) in losses for reindeer herders, without taking into account the breeding value and value added meat lost.

The goal of Sweden’s predator policy is that there should be a certain number of predators in the Sweden and in recent times, the number of predators in the country has generally increased. Sweden’s predator investigation, Predators and their Management SOU 2007:89 published in December 2007, shows that the number of eagles is about 1 800 and that Sweden’s bear population in 2005 ranged between 2 350 and 2 900 bears. In 2007, the number of lynx was between 1 300 and 1 500. The government’s 2008 target for the number of wolverine has, according to estimates, been achieved. According SEPA (Swedish Environmental Protection Agencies), there are at least 200 wolves and 490 wolverines in Sweden.

According to the law, individuals must accept that their private property, such as reindeer, may be food for predators, for which the state pays compensation. This compensation is paid to the Sámi reindeer herding villages. Inventory counts on predators are performed by the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) with the assistance of the Sámi reindeer herding villages, and this forms the basis for compensation. The Sámi Parliament administers both the regulations and the funding for  the predator census. Sámi reindeer herding villages are reimbursed for each den (föryngring) that is found and approved. For example, a found and approved den of wolverine or lynx entitles a Sámi reindeer herding village to a payment of 200 000 SEK (18 800 €). In 2007 the Sami Parliament paid out a total of 43 950 489 SEK (4.15 M €) to the Sami reindeer herding villages for predation compensation.

The aim is that the compensation should be experienced fair and reasonable and provide better conditions for long-term predator care. The compensation should:
• compensate reindeer husbandries losses
• achieve balance between different interests
• increase the understanding and tolerance of reindeer husbandry and predators
• be fair – as far as possible
• be smooth and prompt

The system explained above was introduced in 1996 and before that a system was in force where reindeer owners and the Sámi villages got compensation for each found reindeer killed by a predator. The problem with the old system was that all killed reindeer where not found and that reindeer owners could lose compensations they were entitled to.

SSR and the Sámi Parliament have been associated with the last state predator investigation, Rovdjuren och deras förvaltning SOU 2007:89, concluding that predators are perceived as being one of the greatest threats to reindeer herding and that the Sámi reindeer herding villages want to have a much greater ability to influence predator compensation and practices. SSR and the Sámi Parliament also express the opinion that this investigation did not sufficiently investigate the effects of today’s predator policy on reindeer husbandry. The Sámi reindeer herding villages and SSR have stated that the level of predation must be reduced to 25 % of current levels in Sweden if reindeer husbandry should continue to thrive in the future.

The question of protecting domesticated and semi domesticated animals against predators has been discussed a great deal for many years primarily between animal owners on the one side and the state/predator organisations on the other. Reindeer herders for example have been stating from a legal point of view that they should be given fairer conditions to remove problem predators.

(www.sapmi.se)

(www.sametinget.se)
(www.naturvardsverket.se)
(Rovdjuren och deras förvaltning SOU 2007:89)

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