According to an assessment by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the number of bears in Finland was 2,130 to 2,260 before the 2018 hunting season opens.

Statements by Luke on assessments of population size are available at Riistahavainnot.fi (in Finnish).

Research lays the foundation for the management of the bear population

Luke assesses the size of the bear population early each year. Researchers investigate the age and gender distribution of the bear population, as well as its genetic make-up. In addition to gaining information on the behaviour of large carnivores, such as their food, travel patterns and habitat, the coexistence between large carnivores and humans is an important study area. Acting in collaboration with the Finnish Wildlife Agency, Luke compiles annual statistics on the number of bears killed by hunters.

Research results lay the foundation for the management of the bear population such information is used when taking decisions on the hunting of bears. International obligations, such as the EU Habitats Directive, require that the size of the bear population be monitored.

With regard to the supervision of large carnivores, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is the leading and highest authority in Finland. The Finnish Wildlife Agency is charged with implementing Finland’s game policy, promoting sustainable game management and providing support for local regional game councils.

Photo on top of the page: Petri Timonen / Luke