Increased wolf population in 2021

[22.8.2021 08:45]
Hunting groups, dog owners warned of increased wolf population.
There will be an estimated 70-84 wolf territories across Finland this autumn.

Increased wolf population in 2021

Finland’s bear hunting season begins on Friday while the moose season will commence from 1 September. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

The chances of hunting dogs encountering a wolf in Finland’s forests this autumn have increased significantly from last year, according to the Life BorealWolf (LifeSusi in Finnish) project, as the nation’s wolf population has grown over the past 12 months.

“Now people should be very careful and make every effort to find out where the wolves are. No dogs are allowed in areas where there are wolves,” Mari Tikkunen of the Finnish Wildlife Agency said.

There were an estimated 54-59 wolf herds and pairs in Finland in March, according to figures provided by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), and a lot of litters have been born this year, especially in areas where food has been plentiful.

The population growth means that there will be between 70 and 84 wolf ‘territories’ across Finland this autumn, Luke added.

Every year, there are an average of between 30 and 50 dog injuries caused by wolves in Finland. Last year that figure was 57, based on the number of applications for compensation under the Game Animal Damages Act.

wolf map 2021

The map shows an approximation of wolf territories in March 2021. Green denotes a confirmed territory, yellow is probable, and red is uncertain. The black circles show where dogs were killed or injured by wolves in 2020 and for which compensation has been sought. The shades of dark grey are areas where wolves are expected to migrate in November 2021. Image: Susi-life-hanke

Although the wolf population has gradually shifted towards western Finland in recent years, the majority of wolf-induced dog injuries still occur in eastern Finland.

Panels previously installed by Luke to track wolf movements are no longer operational, meaning there is less information for hunters this hunting season about where wolves might be located.

“In the past, hunters have been able to look at locations where there were herds of wolves. They were given an indication of where some of the wolves were on the move and that helped direct the hunt to areas where there were no wolves,” Tikkunen said.

The latest information on wolf sightings can be obtained from local hunting societies. Hunters also share information about wolf sightings in their area, for example in Whatsapp groups.

Source: Yle