Reindeer herding and large carnivores

A majority of reindeer owners approve of having large carnivores in the reindeer herding area, provided that the damages they cause are compensated for and their populations are managed. The views on large carnivores are the most positive in the northern reindeer herding area and among the younger age groups.

The coexistence of reindeer and large carnivores is not without its problems

A dead, bloody reindeer lying in the snow. A snowmobile is in the background. The reindeer was killed by a wolverine. Photo: Metsähallitus, Wilderness supervision

Reindeer herders in the southern Sami reindeer herding districts consider large carnivores a significant economical threat to the reindeer industry. The wolverine is considered especially problematic because its hunting is completely forbidden.

In these reindeer herders' opinion their livelihood has changed from regular reindeer herding to work where the prevention of large carnivore damages and looking for reindeer killed by carnivores in the wilds have become significant parts of the job. Some herders, who base their income on meat production, are barely scratching by, others have quit and yet others are adapting to the situation by basing their livelihood on the compensations paid for large carnivore damages.

To prevent damages caused by large carnivores, some reindeer herders have resulted to keeping their reindeer fenced off during the winter months. Reindeer herders are compensated for reindeer killed by large carnivores in accordance with the Game Animal Damages Act. In order to receive this compensation, the killed reindeer must be found. Reindeer are given locator collars that turn on when the animal stops moving, which allows herders to locate the carcasses. Now dogs are also being trained to locate killed reindeer.

Damages caused by large carnivores

Large carnivores cause different types of damage to reindeer herding, domestic animals, beekeeping and agriculture. Dogs are also lost to carnivores, mostly wolves, during hunting and some are also taken from people's yards.

Attitudes towards large carnivores

The views held by Finns are sometimes conflicting when it comes to the population management and conservation of large carnivores. Research has been conducted on how Finns think our large carnivore populations should be managed. This data has been collected via surveys, interviews and public meeting...