According to an population assessment by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the number of lynxes in Finland amounted to 2,490–2,560 before the opening of the 2016/2017 hunting season. Compared to the previous year, the population increased slightly only in Central Finland. Elsewhere in Finland, the lynx population has decreased somewhat, or remained stable. This assessment does not include cubs born in the spring.

Compared to 2015 (2,700–2,795 individuals), the number of lynxes decreased. Researcher estimates that a minimum of 453–474 litters were born in 2015, around 10 per cent fewer than in 2014. Last year, there was a clear increase in the number of litters in Central Finland only. Within the territories of the Finnish Wildlife Agency, the number of litters decreased in seven areas, while the situation remained by and large unchanged in others. The culling of the population through licenced hunting during the past few winters is expected to impact on the population in 3 to 5 years’ time.

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

Research lays the foundation for the management of the lynx population

In May and June of each year, Luke produces an estimate on the lynx population size. Researchers also investigate the age and gender distribution, of the lynx population. In addition to gaining information on the behaviour of the lynx, such as its food, travel patterns and the use of its habitat, the lynx’s coexistence with humans is an important study area. Acting in collaboration with the Finnish Wildlife Agency, Luke compiles annual statistics on the number of lynxes killed by hunters and of natural causes.

Research results build the foundation for the management of the lynx population: such information is used when deciding on the lynx hunting quota. International obligations, such as the EU Habitats Directive, require the size of the lynx population to be monitored.

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

Photo on top of the page: Vastavalo