Officials confirm that Finland’s wolf population has collapsed because of poaching
Wolf numbers have nearly halved since 2005
It has been an open secret for years, but now it is official: poaching has caused Finland’s wolf population to collapse in such a way that the species, which is already considered extremely threatened, is now indeed in dire straits.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, under whose jurisdiction beast of prey issues fall, plans to get out into the field in the Game Councils next winter in order to root out the deeply-rooted hatred towards wolves.
“The idea is to start unravelling the conflict systematically", says negotiating official Sami Niemi from the ministry.
The administration has been under a lot of pressure to keep the tightly-protected wolves alive, for Finland is already being monitored by the EU Commission because of the illegal killings of wolves.
The ministry, therefore, calls for extensive cooperation between various authorities in order to curb poaching.
“We will now begin - hopefully - together with several ministries to think of ways to tackle this situation. This cannot be just the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s responsibility. The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of the Environment have to be included”, Niemi emphasises.
The number of wolves in the country has dropped by more than a hundred from the peak years.
When in 2005 there were 250 wolves in Finland, last spring’s corresponding figure was between 135 and 145.
The number of separate wolf packs is estimated by the the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute at 13 or 14, when half of the packs on the Finnish-Russian border are included.
The packs are more or less in their former locations, but from some areas wolves have disappeared completely. For example several packs south and east of the city of Oulu have simply ceased to exist.