Finnish Wildlife Agency

Helsinki, Finland

Finnish Wildlife Agency

Helsinki, Finland
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Salo M.,Natural Resources Institute Finland | Hiedanpaa J.,Natural Resources Institute Finland | Luoma M.,Finnish Wildlife Agency | Pellikka J.,Natural Resources Institute Finland
Society and Natural Resources | Year: 2017

During the early 2010s, Finnish wolf (Canis lupus) policy reached an impasse. Unfavorable conservation status, intensifying wolf–human conflict, civil disobedience, legislative confusion, and administrative frustration characterized the situation. As part of a participatory updating process for the Finnish national wolf management plan in 2014, we organized a nationwide wolf management forum to explore how e-participation could be used to nurture deliberation for improved wolf policy. We present our interactive method and the resulting wolf territory-based solutions to the wolf problems that the participants of a nationwide online forum identified. The theoretical and practical significance of our work is that we ascribe value to the functional features of these solutions as modifications to the action environment, shared by people and wolves. In this vein, we discuss the role of e-deliberation on the path toward an institutional fit, and we consider how local decision making could help to implement promising wolf territory-level policy interventions. © 2017 Taylor & Francis


Hiedanpaa J.,Natural Resources Institute Finland | Kalliolevo H.,University of Turku | Salo M.,Natural Resources Institute Finland | Pellikka J.,Natural Resources Institute Finland | Luoma M.,Finnish Wildlife Agency
Environmental Management | Year: 2016

The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is a source of concern and a cause of damage to people’s livelihoods. In Finland, as in most countries, actual damages are compensated according to the real lost value. However, often, the suffered damages are larger than what is compensated, and worries and fears are not accounted for at all. The purpose of our transdisciplinary action research is to contribute to the process of modifying the scientific, administrative, and everyday habits of mind in order to meet the practical prerequisites of living with the wolf. In 2014, we planned and participated in a process designed to update Finland’s wolf population management plan. During our study, we applied e-deliberation, conducted a national wolf survey, and organized solution-oriented workshops in wolf territory areas around Finland. By applying abductive reasoning, we illustrate the basic features of an economic scheme that would help finance and coordinate practical modifications to the ecological, economic, and institutional circumstances and settings in wolf territory areas. The potential economic instrument is based on payments for improved ecostructures. In our paper, we describe the organization, functioning, and financing of this instrument in detail. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York


Niemi M.,University of Helsinki | Matala J.,Natural Resources Institute Finland | Melin M.,University of Eastern Finland | Eronen V.,Finnish Wildlife Agency | Jarvenpaa H.,Hyvinkaa Game Management Association
Nature Conservation | Year: 2015

Ungulate-vehicle collisions are intensively studied in many countries. However, limited knowledge exists on how many animals struck actually die due to collisions and whether differences in traffic mortality occur between species living in the same area. In this study, we estimated a kill rate (the proportion of individuals killed/struck) and, in relation to their winter population sizes, the collision and traffic mortality rates for four ungulate species (moose Alces alces, white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, roe deer Capreolus capreolus, and fallow deer Dama dama). We used an unofficial collision register collected between 2001 and 2012 (a total of 12 years) by voluntary hunters from the Hyvinkää Game Management Area (323 km2) located in southern Finland. The population estimates used were based on annual snow track censuses. A total of 497 ungulates were involved in collisions during the study period. Of these, 76% were killed directly or put down afterwards. Roe deer had the highest kill rate; 95% of struck individuals died. White-tailed deer had the highest collision and traffic mortality rates (8.0% and 6.5% of the winter population, respectively), followed by moose (6.5 % and 4.5%), roe deer (3.9% and 3.7%), and fallow deer (3.2% and 2.1%). As we found the collision and traffic mortality rates to be unequal between species, we recommend separately reporting all ungulate species when compiling collision statistics. We additionally suggest that local managers should be aware of ungulate collision and traffic mortality rates in their areas and should use this knowledge when planning annual harvest. Copyright Milla Niemi et al.


PubMed | Norwegian University of Life Sciences, University of Calgary, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Natural Resources Institute Finland and 5 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

The media and scientific literature are increasingly reporting an escalation of large carnivore attacks on humans in North America and Europe. Although rare compared to human fatalities by other wildlife, the media often overplay large carnivore attacks on humans, causing increased fear and negative attitudes towards coexisting with and conserving these species. Although large carnivore populations are generally increasing in developed countries, increased numbers are not solely responsible for the observed rise in the number of attacks by large carnivores. Here we show that an increasing number of people are involved in outdoor activities and, when doing so, some people engage in risk-enhancing behaviour that can increase the probability of a risky encounter and a potential attack. About half of the well-documented reported attacks have involved risk-enhancing human behaviours, the most common of which is leaving children unattended. Our study provides unique insight into the causes, and as a result the prevention, of large carnivore attacks on people. Prevention and information that can encourage appropriate human behaviour when sharing the landscape with large carnivores are of paramount importance to reduce both potentially fatal human-carnivore encounters and their consequences to large carnivores.


PubMed | University of Turku, Natural Resources Institute Finland and Finnish Wildlife Agency
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental management | Year: 2016

The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is a source of concern and a cause of damage to peoples livelihoods. In Finland, as in most countries, actual damages are compensated according to the real lost value. However, often, the suffered damages are larger than what is compensated, and worries and fears are not accounted for at all. The purpose of our transdisciplinary action research is to contribute to the process of modifying the scientific, administrative, and everyday habits of mind in order to meet the practical prerequisites of living with the wolf. In 2014, we planned and participated in a process designed to update Finlands wolf population management plan. During our study, we applied e-deliberation, conducted a national wolf survey, and organized solution-oriented workshops in wolf territory areas around Finland. By applying abductive reasoning, we illustrate the basic features of an economic scheme that would help finance and coordinate practical modifications to the ecological, economic, and institutional circumstances and settings in wolf territory areas. The potential economic instrument is based on payments for improved ecostructures. In our paper, we describe the organization, functioning, and financing of this instrument in detail.


Brommer J.E.,University of Turku | Brommer J.E.,Novia University of Applied Sciences | Kekkonen J.,University of Helsinki | Wikstrom M.,Finnish Wildlife Agency
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2015

A heterozygosity-fitness correlations (HFCs) may reflect inbreeding depression, but the extent to which they do so is debated. HFCs are particularly likely to occur after demographic disturbances such as population bottleneck or admixture. We here study HFC in an introduced and isolated ungulate population of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus in Finland founded in 1934 by four individuals. A total of 422 ≥ 1-year-old white-tailed deer were collected in the 2012 hunting season in southern Finland and genotyped for 14 microsatellite loci. We find significant identity disequilibrium as estimated by g2. Heterozygosity was positively associated with size- and age-corrected body mass, but not with jaw size or (in males) antler score. Because of the relatively high identity disequilibrium, heterozygosity of the marker panel explained 51% of variation in inbreeding. Inbreeding explained approximately 4% of the variation in body mass and is thus a minor, although significant source of variation in body mass in this population. The study of HFC is attractive for game- and conservation-oriented wildlife management because it presents an affordable and readily used approach for genetic monitoring that allowing identification of fitness costs associated with genetic substructuring in what may seem like a homogeneous population. The use of Heterozygosity-Fitness Correlation (HFC) to study inbreeding depression is debated, especially regarding the potential of a small set of neutral markers to reflect genome-wide heterozygosity. White-tailed deer in Finland went through an extreme bottleneck and we here show that HFC study is a powerful approach to study inbreeding in this population. © 2015 Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Kaunisto S.,University of Eastern Finland | Valimaki P.,University of Oulu | Kortet R.,University of Eastern Finland | Koskimaki J.,University of Oulu | And 5 more authors.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2012

The deer ked (Lipoptena cervi) is an ectoparasitic fly on cervids that has expanded its distribution rapidly in Northern Europe. However, the regulating biotic factors such as predation remain unknown. The host-independent pupal stage of the fly lasts for several months. Blackish pupae are visible against snow, especially on the bedding sites of hosts, and are thus exposed to predators. To evaluate the role of predation on the invasion dynamics and evolution of L.cervi, we monitored pupal predation on artificial bedding sites in three geographical areas in Finland during winter. We explored: (1) possible predators; (2) magnitude of predation; and (3) whether predation risk is affected by host-derived cues. We demonstrate that pupae are predated by a number of tit species. Any reddish brown snow discoloration on bedding sites, indicating heavy infestation of the host, serves as an exploitable cue for avian predators, thereby increasing the risk of pupal predation. The ability of tits to use this host-derived cue seems to be dependent on the prevalence of L.cervi and the period of invasion history, which suggests that it may be a learned behavioural response. Predation by tits may potentially affect the L.cervi population dynamics locally. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London.


Rea R.V.,University of Northern British Columbia | Hjeljord O.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Harkonen S.,Finnish Wildlife Agency
Acta Theriologica | Year: 2014

Scandinavian moose (Alces alces) eat Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in winter. Although North American moose are known to eat conifers such as true firs (Abies spp.) in winter, substantial consumption of pine by moose in North America has not been documented. Here, we document short-term winter preferences of human-habituated northwestern moose (Alces alces andersoni) for branches of mature North American and European conifer species as determined by a cafeteria-style feeding trial. Moose selected for species such as Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii; from which they took the smallest bite diameters) while avoiding species such as lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta; from which they took the largest bites) and hybrid white spruce (Picea glauca × engelmanii). The amount of species-specific biomass consumed by moose was negatively correlated with bite diameters taken from branches of those species and did not appear to be significantly influenced by differences in twig morphology between species. Our trial suggests that northwestern moose readily consume conifers in winter and, from the species we tested, prefer Douglas fir. While no clear preference existed between Scots pine and lodgepole pine, moose avoided lodgepole pine, but not Scots pine, relative to Douglas fir. Our trial suggests that northwestern moose are more likely to feed on the branches of Douglas fir than pine, which may be of interest to foresters managing conifers within the North American range of moose, particularly where Scots pine are being considered for planting. © 2013 Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland.


News Article | January 23, 2016
Site: phys.org

Authorities hope the trial cull of 46 of Finland's estimated 250 grey wolves will curb illegal poaching, which some rural landowners have resorted to in recent years after seeing wolves roaming their property, sometimes killing dogs and livestock. "We wish to gain experience (to see) if this could be one solution to the conflict around wolves," Sauli Harkonen, a director tasked with hunting administration at the Finnish Wildlife Agency, told AFP. Quotas have been issued for specific regions, and the month-long cull will be carried out by licensed hunters. Harkonen said the first wolf, a male, was killed in the country's east on Saturday. Finland launched the first part of a two-year trial in 2015 in a bid to address the deep rift between animal rights activists and those who want to see wolf numbers cut. Hunters were given permission to take out 24 wolves last year, though only 17 were killed. That was the first time culls had been authorised since 2007, after the European Commission accused Finland of breaching EU protection rules on the endangered species. The conflict peaked in 2013 when a group of angry locals in the rural western municipality of Perho took the law into their own hands and killed three wolves. Twelve men were prosecuted and eventually found guilty. Poachers throughout the country's vast and remote forests reduced the total wolf population to between 120 and 135 animals in 2013, but numbers have since rebounded to around 250, similar to 2007 levels. "The cull reduces the population but the wolf is a prolific species... Wolves have spread out to new and even somewhat populous areas," Harkonen said. Some Finns house a deep-rooted aversion and fear of the animal, dating back to the 19th century, when tales of wolves eating children were rife and rewards were paid to anyone who killed a wolf. Rural residents regularly express concern for the safety of their dogs and livestock, while some even claim their children are in danger, though there have been no reported attacks on people in modern times. Local residents in Perho claim there are still between 10 to 20 wolves in the area—a figure they deem too high. But environmentalists worry that the cull may destroy the genetic diversity of the wolves. "All protectionists have been shocked by the high quotas... The population should be at least twice as big for it to be genetically healthy," said Mari Nyyssola-Kiisla, head of the wolf action group of the Finnish Nature League. Authorities have advised hunters to target young wolves in order to prevent a dispersion of the packs, who follow their alpha leaders. Despite that, at least one alpha female and three wolves with research collars were shot during last year's cull. Nyyssola-Kiisla feared the estimates of the population's recent recovery could be exaggerated, as the official tally was hampered by an exceptionally warm early winter and the lack of snow made tracking difficult. "The estimated number of packs is rather conservative since tracking wolves was very demanding towards the end of the year due to lack of snow," the association wrote in a statement, pointing out that landowners' reported wolf sightings had tripled between 2013 and 2015. The trial hunt does not apply to reindeer areas in the north of the country, where wolves are known to attack the herds. In those regions, herders can only hunt wolves that have been proven to have attacked their reindeer with special permits, valid for 21 days. Hunting is a deep-rooted, widespread tradition and hobby in Finland, with around 300,000 people registering annually for permits, one of the highest per capita rates in Europe.


Melin M.,University of Eastern Finland | Mehtatalo L.,University of Eastern Finland | Miettinen J.,Finnish Wildlife Agency | Tossavainen S.,Finnish Wildlife Agency | Packalen P.,University of Eastern Finland
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2016

Forest-dwelling grouse, and especially their broods, are highly dependent on forest and vegetation structure. In countries with intense forest management, it follows that the quality of their habitats is directly affected by forestry operations. Therefore, we must know which structural features of forests define a good grouse habitat and how the abundance of these features is affected by the forestry operations. Nowadays, airborne lidar (light detection and ranging) is being frequently used for forest inventories and terrain mapping. These data is becoming more and more publicly available and it holds detailed information about the forests and the vegetation structure; a key component of wildlife habitats. In this study, we integrated lidar data with grouse brood presence/absence data. Through GLMM modelling, we aimed (1) to identify the structural features of forests that mostly determine grouse brood occurrence and (2) to assess how they are affected by forest management. The three species assessed were capercaillie, hazel grouse and black grouse. Depending on species, the brood presence was positively (and significantly) affected by denser shrub layer cover, denser canopy cover, higher canopies, or all of these features. The results indicate that grouse broods are highly susceptible to changes in forest structure. In countries like Finland, game management is almost always implemented in managed forests, which in the light of our results creates a need to integrate habitat management into forest management. Our results suggest that when managing grouse brood habitats, attention should be given to maintain both, protective canopy cover and a good understorey cover. It is fair to assume that the removal of these components will significantly decrease brood occurrence. Further, the study showed that a dataset (lidar) collected more for the purposes of forestry can also be used to study wildlife habitats occurring often in the same forests. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

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