6 January 2022
In December, the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry announced a proposal to kill 20 wolves from 4 packs outside the reindeer herding area this winter, with the supposed purpose of “regulating the growth of the wolf population, preventing damage and promoting the acceptability of the wolf”.
This proposal goes against Finland’s legal obligation to prohibit the deliberate killing of wolves as specimens of a strictly protected species listed under the Annex IV(a) of the Habitats Directive.
Members of the European Parliament from the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals recently sent a letter to Minister Jari Leppä, calling for withdrawal of the Ministry’s proposal.
Our member organisation Luonto-Liiton Susiryhmä also took action to stand against the plans, highlighting the fragility of Finland’s endangered wolf population, and the public’s support for the protection of wolves.
Despite these efforts, the Finnish Ministry has not withdrawn the plans.
The actions from the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry under Minister Jari Leppä are promoting wolf persecution and conflict. The decision from the Ministry to kill 20 wolves next winter goes against EU legislation which Finland has the legal obligation to comply with. The wolf is a highly endangered and strictly protected species in Finland and according to the rulings of the CJEU, this protection applies not only in its natural habitat but also near human settlements. In this time of crisis for nature, Finland should be a role model for protecting it´s endangered species according to the law instead of focusing on finding the legal “loopholes” to make it easier to kill these animals. Quota-based wolf hunting is not a measure that promotes tolerance or coexistence with wolves, but quite the opposite. Preventing conflicts with large carnivores is possible – as shown in many European countries with much bigger wolf populations – by the effective use of preventive measures. Killing a wolf should always be an exceptional and last resort, used when no other option exists and after all other alternative means have been exhausted.
Francisco Sánchez Molina, Luonto-Liiton Susiryhmä
Eurogroup for Animals, along with Luonto-Liiton Susiryhmä, strongly condemns this action and encourages humane alternatives to be employed in order to encourage successful coexistence with large carnivores, and to protect this highly endangered species.
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