An assessment by Luke – the Natural Resources Institute Finland – put the number of wolves in Finland in late February 2016 at 200 to 235 individuals.

The wolf population is estimated to comprise 37 to 39 packs, in addition to which there are 16 wolf pairs. Around 15 per cent of the population consists of lone wolves. Of the packs, 26 to 27, and of the pairs, 14, travel within Finland’s national borders. The assessment puts the number of wolves in the Eastern Finland population management area at 105 to 120 individuals; in the western management area at 90 to 105 individuals; and in the reindeer husbandry area at 5 to 10 individuals. In January 2015, before the hunting season for population management opened, Luke estimated that the population consisted of 220 to 245 wolves.

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

The size of the wolf population in Finland since 2006. The area indicated in orange in the figure is based on annual assessments of the wolf population conducted by Luke. In the figure, *indicates the size of the population in 2015 before the hunting season for population management opened, and **the size of the population after the season closed.
The size of the wolf population in Finland since 2006. The area indicated in orange in the figure is based on annual assessments of the wolf population conducted by Luke. In the figure, *indicates the size of the population in 2015 before the hunting season for population management opened, and **the size of the population after the season closed.

Research lays the foundation for the management of the wolf population

Luke assesses the size of the wolf population early each year. Before a proper assessment is produced, interim reports may be published on the number of packs and number of individuals within them. The Natural Resources Institute Finland also investigates the age and gender distribution of the wolf population, as well as its genetic make-up. In addition to information on wolf behaviour such as food, travel patterns and habitat, coexistence between wolves and humans is an important study area.

Research results lay the foundation for the management of the wolf population. Such information is used when decisions are taken on the hunting and protection of the wolf population. International obligations, such as the EU Habitats Directive, require that the size of the wolf population be monitored. Luke also produces information on wolves in order to assess the degree of endangeredness of Finnish fauna.

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 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: Ville Heikkinen / Vastavalo.fi