According to an estimate released by Luke on 9 June 2021, Finland had 32-38 packs of wolves and 279-321 individual wolves in March.
“The Finnish Hunter's Association feels that the significant growth in the wolf population enables the start of hunting for population control. Setting a limit to the growth of the population is justified”, says Tuomas Hallenberg, Chair of the Finnish Hunters’ Association.
In Sweden, 30 packs was set as the level of suitable protection. When the population there was larger, a hunt for population control was conducted last winter.
Hunters play very important role in producing population estimates
“Last winter hunters did much work both in finding wolf tracks, and in the collection of DNA samples throughout the country, for example in North and South Ostrobothnia and in southern parts of North Karelia. Nearly 80% more samples identified as those of wolves were collected than in the previous winter. The number of active collectors increased by a factor of 2.5”, says Hunter's Association executive director Jaakko Silpola.
In a recent population estimate Luke calculated with 90 percent probability that the number of individual wolves in Finland in 2021 was between 279 to 321 individual animals. In March last year the size of the population was estimated at 216 - 248 individuals.
“According to the 2020 forecast model, the number of wolves expected in Finland in March 2021 would have been 162 - 299, or 16-35 packs, and no significant growth in the population was expected. The growth of the wolf population from a year back has nevertheless been clear according to the fresh population estimate. In the view of the Association, the increase in the number of wolves in the new population estimate is in line with similar observations from the field. Thanks to the extensive and successful collection of DNA samples, the estimate of the wolf population is more reliable”, says Ere Grenfors, Wildlife Management and Conservation Manager at the Finnish Hunters’ Association.
According to Luke's forecast model for predicting the development of the wolf population, the number of wolf territories is likely to increase further. The Luke forecast formula predicts with a probability of 90 percent, that the size of the wolf population in early July 2021 will be 391 - 515 individuals. The Finnish Hunters’ Association now feels that it is very important to allow hunting for population control in the coming winter to prevent harm caused by the wolves. Already last year, moose hunting in many areas did not start until after the snow fell, making it possible to locate wolf packs to protect dogs.
The Finnish Hunters’ Association has set the improvement of conditions for hunting with dogs, and the securing of the Finnish culture of hunting with dogs, as its most acute issue by starting a population management hunt for wolves.
Executive director Jaakko Silpola, tel. +358 50 406 4836, jaakko.silpolametsastajaliitto.fi ()
Wildlife Management and Conservation Manager Ere Grenfors, tel. +358 50 569 8916, ere.grenforsmetsastajaliitto.fi ()