Sweden has the capacity to be a stronghold for wolves bears and Lynx, it is the 5th largest country in Europe, just behind the size of Spain. More interestingly for us, 69% of it is forested and much of the north and west of the country is either covered in hills or mountains.

With all this, you would think that there would be huge populations of wolves bears and lynx (as well as wolverines and various other animals). Unfortunately this is not true, as there is a substantial amount of hunting that goes on in the country. There is currently thought to be a population of 460 wolves (at the beginning of the year, there is a cull planned). The governments target is 170-270. Now this is actually relatively stupid, as it suggests that humans think that the correct number of wolves is different to the natural number. The main issue, is that the animal that the wolves like to hunt is also the animal that the humans like to hunt: the Elk. 


Bears do well in this country, and it is wonderful to be able to watch them

Below is our sightings board. Please do use it, report the wildlife you encounter. Unfortunately due to the current amount of poaching and legal hunting, we will move all historic sightings behind a membership wall, so as to not be used by hunters. Never-the-less, reporting sightings will always remain free – help us build an accurate understanding of where wildlife is living and how it is using the land available.

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There is also an issue, in that the wolves that need to be culled are killed by hunters. As such, it is in their interest to suggest that there are more than there are, so that they can hunt more. This years cull is aiming to take 75 wolves. This population estimate is incredibly encouraging, as when we visited Sweden a few years ago the wolf population was only around 300, so in theory, the population has been allowed to grow by 50%. However, as I have said many times, the more tourism that goes to see these animals, the more interest there will be on the financial value that comes with wolves. It should be noted that wolves were extinct in the country for 20 years between 1960-1980. However, given its long border with Russia, only a continual effort could keep the wolves gone. We want to reach a point where the wolf population is allowed to grow, because so much money is entering the country due to wolf tourism.

On our trip, we saw a wolf twice. The first time was a chance visit from a wolf while sitting in a bear hide. We also had a fleeting sighting of a wolf that was harrying a group of Elk with calves further south.

Wolf distribution in Sweden

In terms of bears, Sweden has around 5600 bears in the country which is the greatest number on the continent (and includes 46% of European bears, outside Russia)

Bear distribution of Sweden

Our bear hide visit (which is listed under hides  and linked here) and is well worth visiting) resulted in 6 bears during the night, as well as the surprise wolf and various other species.

There is a small but growing ecotourism business in Sweden. One of the big advantages, is that a summer visit has daylight for as much as 21 hours a day, which means that an overnight hide visit can still give many sightings.

There are thought to be around 1450 lynx in the country. These animals are sometimes called the ghost cat, as they are incredibly rarely seen, even by those who work in the wilderness.

Bison have not yet got any presence in the country.

Further Links to areas to visit will appear below the list of blog posts on Sweden

See Animals Wild