Management plan for the Finnish lynx population

The management plan for the Finnish lynx population was approved in 2006. The plan defines the guidelines by which the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry continues the systematic management of the lynx population. The aim of the management plan is to establish and secure the lynx as a permanent fixture of Finnish nature. The basic goal is to maintain the favourable conservation status of the species.

Finland is divided into two regions for lynx population management

A lynx in winter coat. A lynx in winter coat. Photo: Lassi Rautiainen

The Finnish lynx population has developed favourably. The current management guidelines have been found to be working well and there is no reason to significantly alter them. The main aims of the management activities are: to maintain a robust yet shy lynx population that steers clear of people; to minimise the damages caused by lynxes; and to increase people's lynx awareness. Basically, the management plan aims to allow the coexistence of lynxes and local humans.

Finland is divided into two large regions for the purposes of lynx population management: the reindeer herding area in the north of the country and the rest of Finland. In the reindeer herding area the lynx population will be kept at current levels while ensuring that lynxes may move freely between Scandinavia and Russia. Exceptional hunting permits are issued specifically for individual lynxes that harm reindeer. The goal in the rest of Finland is to establish a robust lynx population that allows the natural spreading of the species.

The development of the lynx population living south of the reindeer herding area is controlled by hunting.

Lynx hunting

The lynx has spread to all parts of Finland and many hunters are now able to participate in lynx hunts. The hunting season for lynx begins in early December in nearly all of Finland with the exception of the reindeer herding area, where the season has already begun in early October. Lynx hunting is ...

Sightings as the basis of population estimates

Natural Resources Institute Finland's (Luke) estimates on the numbers of animals are primarily based on sighting data collected by a volunteer organisation consisting of the contact persons of regional game management associations. Other utilised methods include on-the-ground censuses made by hunter...