There’s been a massacre in Finland. The country, which from afar looks to epitomize sustainable living, has slaughtered a third of its wolves this winter.
Seventy-five wolves have been killed since the end of August: 43 in a government-sanctioned cull, and most of the rest under a licence system that allows “problem” wolves – those repeatedly found in villages or menacing farm livestock – to be shot dead.
Thanks to people finally shrugging off the fairy tale baddies that teach us to fear this carnivore, and thanks to protection from an EU directive on habitats, wolf numbers – along with those of lynx and brown bears – have been slowly recovering in Europe.
Wolves have proved adept at sharing space with humans, in some cases frequenting densely populated suburbs. Italy and Spain have large wolf populations and even Germany, where wolves are re-colonising from Poland, has a similar number of wolves to Finland. Germany also has 233 people for every sq km; Finland averages just 17.
There’s one fact that perhaps explains Finland’s lack of tenderness to wolves: its human population of 5.5 million includes 300,000 hunters. Finland’s government argues its cull will stop frustrated hunters from illegally shooting wolves – so the wolves are being killed for their own protection.
Last year, wolves were blamed for killing about 50 hunting dogs, infuriating hunters who spend years training them. Hunters are handsomely compensated but that’s not enough – the wolf is also a competitor for the elk and deer that hunters want to kill.
But there’s a third reason, according to Riku Lumiaro of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation – and it will be familiar to anyone who brushes against British game shooters: “Hunters have total power over the countryside and they don’t want to lose it.”
In Finland, criticism of the wolf cull is portrayed as a clash between urban and “forest” culture. Lumiaro thinks it will simply take time, decades perhaps, for a cultural change.
This article was first published by The Guardian on 29 Feb 2016.
We invite you to share your opinion whether the slaughter of wolves in Finland should be stopped? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page:
Thank you for voting.
Share on social media:
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2436 Views]
- Trophy Hunter Gets Eaten by Crocodiles [1894 Views]
- Scientists Discover Rare and Endangered Cat in Borneo [974 Views]
- POLL: Should the inter-breeding of lions and tigers be banned? [884 Views]
- POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [839 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for exceeding its bluefin tuna quota? [838 Views]
- POLL: Should the illegal wildlife trade in slow lorises be stopped? [838 Views]
- Rare footage helps explain what Narwhals use their tusks for [793 Views]
- 10 of the Most Endangered Species on Earth [731 Views]
- POLL: Should the giraffe be listed as an endangered species? [727 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- White Killer Whale Adult Spotted for First Time in Wild [42085 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16868 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [12273 Views]
- POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union? [12117 Views]
- POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11135 Views]
- POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8655 Views]
- POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8291 Views]
- POLL: Should black bears be killed for Royal Guards’ fur caps? [8074 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s dog meat festival be banned? [7437 Views]
- POLL: Should trophy and big game hunting be banned? [5383 Views]