This paper summarizes results from genetic studies of Nordic carnivore populations bred in captivity. The conservation genetic implications of those results for the management of wild populations of the same species are discussed. Inbreeding depression has been documented in the brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), and lynx (Lynx lynx) populations held in Nordic zoos. The characters negatively affected by inbreeding include litter size (brown bear and wolf), longevity (lynx and wolf), female reproduction, and weight (wolf). In addition, hereditary defects caused by single autosomal alleles occur in the wolf and brown bear populations. These deleterious alleles cause blindness (wolf) and albinism (brown bear) in the homozygous state. The amount of inbreeding depression observed in Nordic carnivores are similar to that documented in other species. The captive populations have the same genetic background as the current wild ones and inbreeding depression is therefore a potential threat to wild carnivore populations in Sweden. This threat is presently not being adequately recognized in the management of these species. Frequently occurring misunderstandings regarding the kind of conclusions that can be drawn from the presented genetic observations are also discussed.