Degree of endangerment

The degree of endangerment of Finnish fauna according to the categorisation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was last evaluated in 2010. The next evaluation will be conducted in 2020. The endangerment categories describe the extinction risk of a species, i.e., how likely it is that the species will disappear completely within a certain timeframe.

Will large carnivores go extinct?

Finnish large carnivores are endangered because of their very small and limited populations. Hunting is the cause of the endangered status of all of our large land predators. In addition to hunting, the wolverine is also threatened by climate change.

In the 2010 evaluation, Finnish predator populations were no longer seen to receive new blood from Sweden, Norway or Russia, which is why the wolverine, the lynx and the brown bear were given a more severe conservation status than before even though the total number of the animals in Finland has increased.

The endangerment categories of the IUCN Red List are:

  • Regionally extinct (RE)
  • Critically endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near threatened (NT)
  • Data deficient (DD)

Endangerment criteria:

A. Decreasing population

B. Geographic area viewed either by distribution area, extent of occurrence or both

C. Small and continuously regressive population

D. Very small or limited population

E. Quantitative analysis


The wolverine is a critically endangered (CR) species as its estimated population size is under 50 fertile animals. The annual growth of the wolverine population has been only 4.7 % between 1978 and 2006.


The wolf is an endangered species as its estimated population size is under 250 fertile animals. The Finnish wolf population has always been considered the western edge of the large Russian wolf population. Since 2000, it would seem, more wolves have migrated from Finland to Russia than the other way around.

Brown bear and lynx

The bear and the lynx are considered vulnerable species as the number of fertile animals was under 1 000 individuals for both species when the evaluation was conducted. Both populations have grown stronger since then. The lynx is the most numerous of the large carnivores in Finland.