According to a population estimate made in March 2019, wolf packs were divided more evenly between Eastern and Western Finland than last year. A total of thirteen packs were found in the western population management area, compared to sixteen the year before, while the number of packs in the eastern population management area increased from eight to eleven (these figures include border packs).
In March 2019, there were a total of nineteen wolf packs that moved only or mostly in Finland. Furthermore, there were five packs moving on both sides of the border between Finland and Russia (the “border packs”). There were clearly more territories inhabited by two wolves than the year before. The total number of individuals (185–205) was estimated to be approximately ten per cent higher than in March 2018 (165–190).
For the first time, the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) created in connection with the publication of the population estimate a forecast describing expected seasonal variation of the wolf population in the next twelve months. The wolf population will grow after March 2019, as pups are born in April and May, but then the population will start to decrease due to the mortality rate. According to the forecast model, the probability of which is 90%, there will be 17–37 packs in 2020.
Based on comprehensive data
The March 2019 population estimate describes the status of the wolf population during the season when it is at its lowest. The estimate is based on the most comprehensive data set available, and gathering such data is only possible in the wintertime. The forecast model is based on research data on wolf population dynamics and the most recent population estimate.
The population estimate is based on observations recorded by contact persons, mortality statistics and DNA analyses. The genetic material was collected by volunteers and people hired for this purpose. Wolf positioning with transmitters provided important additional information to support the population estimate.