By Jennifer Carpenter
Illegal poaching accounts for over half of all deaths of Swedish wolves, suggests a new study.
Basing their estimates on long-term wolf counts, the researchers reveal that two-thirds of poaching goes undetected.
The study suggests that without the past decade of persecution Swedish wolves would be four times more abundant than they are today.
The study's findings are reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
"Many have speculated that poaching levels are high for many threatened species of carnivores," said Chris Carbone from the Zoological Society of London.
"This study presents an important step in trying to quantify this hidden threat," he added.
The new study predicts the size of the wolf Swedish population each year based on counts from the previous year.
These counts are based on radio-tracked wolves and the more traditional 'footprint count', used in Sweden for over 10 years to estimate wolf numbers. More....