maanantai 25. tammikuuta 2016

Update on the wolf hunt and about human settlements

On the official page which tracks the kills made during 2016 test hunt on wolves has currently 11 cases. According to the information I've gathered from news and social media, at least 3 more are killed that don't yet show on the official page. (If you are interested in following the page, here is the link: Saalisseuranta).
The page shows the exact location where wolf was killed. As one can see from the map or from these pictures below, the places are quite close to houses.

In this first picture, the distance to settlements and field on the left side of the map is approx 2,5 miles.

In this picture, which is from the Kainuu area, the site of the hunt is about 4,3 miles from closest human settlements. At the moment this is the farthest distance between settlements and hunt I was able to find out. (The closest houses are those two black squares above the text Kaksipirttinen, north-west from the hunting site.)

So to the second point in the headline: human settlements.

Our country is 130,128 sq miles in size. Little bit smaller than i.e. Montana. Population density is approximately 46 people per sq mile. Little bit more than in Maine or Oregon. What makes Finland bit quirky is how the land is populated. Instead of population clusters with few inhabitants in between and lots of wilderness for predators to roam, Finland is settled almost in every single nook and cranny one can find. This leaves little room for animals such as wolves to roam far from people. In the pic below you can see that Finland is quite thoroughly settled, only the northern most part, Lapland, is having more ideal conditions. Lapland however is dedicated to reindeer herding, so Lapland and some areas in Kainuu and Pohjois-Pohjanmaa regions are not suitable habitat for a wolf.

Due the fact that the reindeer herding area takes almost 30% of Finland, wolves must live in the more densely populated areas and thus they end up having troubles with humans.(Or humans having trouble with wolves, depending which way one wants to look at it).

Since Finland is settled in the way it is, wolves seem to get more easily habituated to humans than in i.e. USA. Here wolves can't really live their lives without encountering human presence. In the Varsinais-Suomi region there are 2 packs and 1 little bit norther in Satakunta region, wolves can't physically get further away from humans than 1,2 to 1,8 miles. These packs live right in the middle of humans and thus have thoroughly habituated. Whether or not hunting these individuals will de-habituate them or not will be seen in future.

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