Finland Times

Wednesday, 29 November, 2023
Home NATIONALHunting to continue under wolf population management
Wed, 09 Nov, 2016 12:08:07 AM
FTimes Report, Nov 9
Photo Lehtikuva.
The Management Plan for the Wolf Population in Finland, adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in January 2015, proposes a two-year trial period for allowing more flexibility in the hunting of wolves.
The hunting allowed in winter 2015 and winter 2016 was to target young wolves, while killing alpha males was to be avoided in order not to put the viability of the pack at risk, said a press release on Tuesday.
After the two-year trial an evaluation was to be conducted before deciding whether hunting should be continued.  
In 2015, a total of 17 wolves were killed in the trial hunting, three of these alpha males of the pack.
When hunting permits granted to prevent significant damage, wolves killed by police order and other wolves reported dead are included, the removals from the population totalled 42 wolves.
In the trial hunting in winter 2016 a total of 43 wolves were killed, 20 of these alpha males of the pack. Removals from the population totalled 78 wolves as per the recently completed evaluation.
In winter 2015 the number of alpha males killed was very small and the population was calculated to have grown from 220-245 to 275-310 individuals in 2016.
The number of alpha males killed in the trial hunting in winter 2016 was much higher.
The evaluation concluded that, while hunting in winter 2015 may be considered successful, hunting in winter 2016 and the large number of alpha males killed shows that the sustainability of hunting as it was being carried out in the trial period cannot be guaranteed.
Hunting in 2016 showed that targeting hunting to young individuals in accordance with the objective is quite difficult.
When making the decisions the ministry and the Finnish Wildlife Agency cannot foresee the impact of hunting on the wolf population as a whole as the derogations are in force and applicable in all the areas covered at the same time.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry should establish the maximum allowable number of wolves to be killed.
When this number is met, the Finnish Wildlife Agency will not grant any new derogations, said the release.
The number of wolves killed would also include the wolves killed by a police order.
The Management Plan for the Wolf Population in Finland aims to reconcile the needs of wolves and their protection and those of the citizens living and working in wolf territories.
The management plan was based on the weak status of the wolf population, on the one hand, and the strong criticism against actions by the public authorities, on the other.
The plan sets out measures concerning wolf hunting with the aim to strengthen the sense of security among the local people and their opportunities to influence what happens in the area where they live.  
In 2006–2010 the Finnish wolf population declined by the average of 15 individuals a year. The main reason suggested was illegal killing. 
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