wolf (Canis lupus)

The wolf (Canis lupus) is a mammal of the canine family. Biologically speaking, it is the same species as the domestic dog. The wolf is the largest canine living in the wild. Out of all the northern predators, the wolf is the most social species that prefers to live in packs formed by family units. Wolves communicate with each other via postures, gestures, facial expressions, scent marks and howling. Contrary to what stories tell us, the wolves do not howl more than usual during the full moon. Wolves howl to signal the beginning of hunt, to guard their territory and to call the pack together.

Report on conditions for hunting wolves to manage the population completed

Mon 14 Jun 2021 02:36:00 PM EEST

The report describes the key conditions for allowing the hunting of wolves to manage their population and gives proposals concerning the grounds for this and the measures to be taken. The whole process is mainly based on the preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice on wolf hunting for population management purposes issued in 2019.

The report points out that the aim of the restricted hunting is to control the growth of the wolf population, thus reducing the socio-economic conflicts related to wolves and promoting the acceptance of wolves so that the favourable conservation status of the population can be secured.

“Hunting is an important part of the management of large carnivore populations, and now the aim is to use it for wolves as well. The groups have done a good job and the report provides a solid basis for this kind of hunting. The Ministry is ready to proceed quickly in the implementation if the conditions for allowing the hunt are fulfilled,” Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä says.

Hunting for population management purposes is one of the measures of the Management Plan for the Wolf Population in Finland.

“Managing the wolf population is a balancing act. We want to ensure a viable wolf population while at the same time responding to the needs of people living in areas inhabited by wolves. The plan concerning hunting for population management purposes is one of the tools for the sustainable management of the wolf population,” says Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Based on the reference values for the favourable conservation status in the interim report, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will decide whether wolf hunting for population management purposes can be started in Finland. If the population is at a favourable conservation status, hunting will start as a five-year experiment. More detailed grounds for allowing the hunt are described in a decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and its background memorandum.

“The five-year experiment will enable us to react to changes in the wolf population. Regulating the numbers hunted in accordance with the population management targets has worked well for bear and lynx,” says Vesa Ruusila, Senior Ministerial Adviser at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and chair of the working group responsible for preparing project.

The report also states that it is particularly important to provide adequate training to hunting masters, their deputies and hunters if hunting for population management is started as an experiment.

The report was drawn up as part of the project concerning the planning and definition of wolf hunting for population management purposes. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry appointed the preparation and steering groups for the project in 2020.

Plan for hunting wolves to manage the population – working group report PDF 664kB

Management Plan for the Wolf Population in Finland

Earlier press releases (in Finnish):

Press release 18 November 2020: Planning of wolf hunting for population management purposes proceeds
Press release 23 January 2020: Working groups to study wolf hunting for population management purposes

Inquiries:

Sami Niemi, Ministerial Adviser, Unit for Recreational Use of Nature, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, sami.niemi@mmm.fi, tel. +358 295 162 391
Vesa Ruusila, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Unit for Recreational Use of Nature, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, vesa.ruusila@mmm.fi, tel. +358 295 162 051
Teppo Säkkinen, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 50 516 2868, teppo.sakkinen(at)tem.fi

Howling of a wolf pack

Wolf tracks

The wolf leaves tracks that are typical of large canines. Telling the tracks of a wolf apart from those left by a large dog is very difficult. As is typical of canines, the print left by the wolf's forepaw (10–11 cm) is larger than that left by its hindpaw (9–10 cm). When measuring wolf tracks, the ...