Sunday, 2 July 2017

Finland has far fewer wild wolves than previously thought, census shows

Data reveals there are 150 to 180 animals in Finland, where government awards licences to hunt them

Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
Monday 26 June 2017 07.00 BST Last modified on Monday 26 June 2017 07.01 BST 

Conservation groups have raised concerns over Finland’s wild wolf population after a new census found numbers far below those regarded as naturally sustainable.

Data from the Finnish National Resources Institute show there are currently only about 150 to 180 wolves living in Finland, where the government awards licences to hunt the animals.
The estimate is much lower than previous estimates, which put the population at more than 230 animals more than a year ago.

It also falls a long way short of the estimated 800 individuals needed to sustain a healthy degree of genetic diversity within the population, according to the Wolf Action Group, a conservation committee within the Finnish Nature League.

This week, the campaigners will meet EU officials to discuss the census data, and the application of Europe’s Habitat Directive to the remaining wolves in Finland. Under the EU rules, wolves – which are classed as endangered – should be accorded special status with measures taken to ensure their viability, but conservationists say these rules have not been followed.

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