sunnuntai 24. tammikuuta 2016

Of the current situation

Today, 24th of January 2016 a second day of two-year test hunt is over. So far information regarding the hunt is scarce, most likely due the fact that hunting parties aren't required to inform their success until the next business-day, so tomorrow the reports start coming in. Second reason could be, that recently there was a violent outburst toward a hunter who put down a wolf injured in a collision with a car. Hunter got his car's windshield smashed and threatening messages from angry wolf advocates. Hunters don't want to go thru the same and endanger their families so they don't want to be in public.

But back to the topic, the current wolf hunt.
In 2015 a new wolf management plan was approved and it's controversial 2 year hunting test began. The idea behind the hunt is to de-habituate wolves, thus leading lesser need for poaching and giving wolf a status of valuable game animal instead of vermin. Last year 24 permits were issued out of which 19 were able to be used due appeals stopping hunt in some areas. With these 19 permits, 17 individuals were taken. Out of these 17, one was alfa female, others young members or pups of the pack. Remainder of last year (hunt took place in early spring) the packs that lost a member that was from an earlier litter became shy of humans and stopped visiting yards. The packs that lost a pup born previous spring (less than 1 year old) did not change their behavior.

Now the second year of this test has started, with 46 permits and thus far none of the appeals made have stopped hunting. As far as I have gotten any intel, 2 wolves from 2 packs are killed and one injured. 

The hunting itself is tightly regulated. Only 50 men at a time are allowed to take part and each of them have to be reported to authorities before hunt can begin. During the hunt there is a hunting leader and two vice leaders to ensure safety and terms of the hunt are met. It's recommended that young, problem causing individuals are taken, but if a hunter does kill an alfa during a hunt, it's not considered breaking the rules.

In most cases there is one permit per pack, in some cases with big packs or special conditions, there are 2 permits/pack. In Kainuu region with most wolves per square mile (square km) in the country one pack has been given 3 permits. All of the packs given permits have reproduced successfully in 2015.

The last spring's estimate of approx. of 35 packs and 220-245 wolves. Before the hunt estimate on amount of packs was 34-38 packs. After the hunt is finished in 21st of February (or all permits are used) a new estimate will be made. Most likely the number will rise close or even over 300 individuals.

UPDATE: At least 4 confirmed kills. Two of these were from so called Köyliö pack that lives in one of the most densely populated areas. Other two were of a neighboring pack in Varsinais-Suomi and way norther from a pack of Haapajärvi-Kärsämäki area.

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