Sweden is licensing the hunting of wolves for the first time in nearly 45 years to keep the population at a controllable level.

The near month long hunt began Saturday and allows the killing of a total of 27 wolves.

Susanna Lovgren of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency says the hunt follows a parliamentary decision to keep Sweden’s wolf population below 210 animals.

Sweden stopped issuing hunting licenses in the 1965-1966 season when the predator was near extinction in the country. Since then, the population has recovered however, and there are now believed to be between 182 and 217 wolves in Sweden.