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According to the most recent population assessment, the lynx population decrease, which started in 2014, continues. The population has decreased by approximately 20 per cent from the previous year. Before the opening of the 2018/2019 hunting season, there are an estimated 1,865–1,990 lynxes above one year of age in Finland.

The lynx population has declined the most in six Finnish Wildlife Agency regions: North Karelia, Northern Savonia, Kainuu, Central Finland, Southwest Finland and Ostrobothnia. In other regions, the lynx population has decreased less or remained nearly at the previous year’s level.

Hunting is the most significant reason for the decrease in the lynx population. There have not been any significant changes in mortality from natural causes compared to previous years.

The population assessment is based on an estimate of the number of offspring derived from lynx observations and separate snow track inventories registered by contact persons between September 1st 2017 and February 28th 2018. The total observations consisted of 4,160 visual and snow track observations of lynx family groups, which was 16 per cent more than during a similar period in the 2016–2017 season.

The assessment does not include observations of family groups in the Åland Islands. Furthermore, it does not include an estimate of offspring born in May–June 2018.

In addition to the observation-based population assessment, the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has used a prediction model to assess the development of the lynx population until 2021 under different hunting pressure scenarios. The number of lynx family groups, the population and the forecast model are presented in more detail in Luke’s report: Lynx population in Finland in 2018.

On the basis of family group observations, it is estimated that there were 332–375 family groups in 2017, which was 22 per cent lower than in 2016.