A litter of wolf pups was captured on a trail camera near Salo and Raasepori in mid-2015. (Handout – Finnish Hunters’ Association)

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HANNU HOSKONEN (Centre), the chairperson of the Parliament’s Environment Committee, has pressed on with his mission to challenge the wolf population estimates of Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

“It is an undeniable fact that the real number of wolves is a secret protected by all means possible by Luke,” he claimed in an opinion piece to Savon Sanomat.

“There has been a major change in the public administration’s approach to rural residents in recent years. It is visible clearly in the policies of Luke. The wolf was previously classified as a top predator, whose territories were forests and wastelands. The current position is that people have to adapt to wolves coming to their neighbourhoods.”

Johanna Buchert, the director general of Luke, rejected his claims as false. Luke, she reminded, is tasked not with designing policies but with providing information to support policy-making and population management.

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“The population estimate and the data used as its basis are freely available,” she retorted on Twitter. “It is very regrettable that people are constantly spreading false information.”

Hoskonen also came under criticism from Harri Hölttä, the board chairperson at the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.

“Hoskonen is adding fuel to the fire with his made-up claims about wolves. This is another environment-related conflict that cannot be solved by stubbornly picking fights,” he commented on Twitter.

Hoskonen in December stated to Helsingin Sanomat that he does not believe in the wolf population estimates of Luke. “The wolf counts are completely inaccurate. There’s a huge number of wolves. Every village has made a huge number of sightings with trail cameras. There’s also a huge number of tracks,” he alleged.

The European Court of Justice in October issued a preliminary ruling on hunting as a tool to manage wolf populations, concluding that while hunting remains a legal tool it should be regulated more strictly.

The ruling was described as a major setback for Finland by Jari Leppä (Centre), the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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