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Finland’s Wolf Population Continues to Grow

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The increase in the number of wolves in Finland can be attributed to high reproductive rates as well as an increasingly lower level of mortality.

The number of wolves in Finland has increased slightly this year compared to 2022, according to a report published on Wednesday by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

The institute’s report estimated that there were between 291 and 331 individuals in March this year — with the most probable figure around 310. This represents an increase of about 7 percent compared to the same month last year.

The wolf population in Finland has increased by around 10 percent per year since 2017, the report noted.

This population spurt can be explained by the high reproductive rate of the wolf population as well as an increasingly lower mortality rate. The report also observed that wolves have migrated from Russia in growing numbers over recent years.

The majority of Finland’s wolf population has been concentrated in the western part of the country for many years, with about a third of territories located in the east, but Luke noted that new wolf territories have emerged in southwest Finland too.

This growth in numbers, and expansion into other regions, has worried residents — especially sheep farmers, reindeer herders and dog owners.

Last year, a total of 518 sheep and 1,261 reindeer were killed by wolves in Finland, and just under 50 attacks on dogs were recorded by animal welfare authorities.

Helinä Leppänen, a sheep farmer near Kitee on Finland’s eastern border, told Yle that wolves in the area have been attacking domestic animals and pets and have recently attacked sheep out grazing in a field after learning to dig under electrified fences.

“We don’t need any actual hunting of wolves, but we do need an effective, quick and sensible way to remove the few individuals that do come here to attack other animals,” Leppänen said.

Figures compiled by Luke revealed that about 60 wolves died last year, the majority of them in reindeer husbandry areas where wolves are not protected.

Luke Research Professor Ilpo Kojola said he considers this mortality rate to be quite low.

“Of course, there are also incidents that are not recorded in the statistics,” he added.

Source: Yle News

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