Management plan for the Finnish brown bear population

The management plan for the Finnish brown bear population was approved in 2007. The plan defines the guidelines by which the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry continues the systematic management of Finland's developing bear population. The aim of the management plan is to ensure that the brown bear remains a permanent fixture of Finnish nature. The basic goal is to maintain the favourable conservation status of the species.

Finland is divided into four bear management regions

Bear is lurking behind a juniper. Bear. Photo Markku Pirttimaa

The Finnish bear population has developed favourably. The main aims of the management activities are: to maintain a robust yet shy bear population that steers clear of people; to minimise the damages caused by bears; and to increase people's bear awareness. Basically, the management plan aims to allow the bears and the local humans to coexist.

Finland is divided into four regions when it comes to bear population management: the reindeer herding area, the area of established population, the area of spreading population and the area of developing population. The bear populations in the reindeer herding area and the area of established population are to be kept at current levels. In the area of spreading population, the number of bears is allowed to increase steadily to secure their natural spreading to the fourth bear management area, the area of developing population. In the area of developing population the number of bears is allowed to increase within the limits set by the area's human population density and economic structure.

Bear hunting

Bear hunting has seen a resurgence of sorts in Finland. As the brown bear population has grown, hunters from a wider area now have the chance to participate in bear hunting. Bear hunting skills have remained intact in eastern and northern Finland. Elsewhere there has been a lull in the tradition and...

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...