Project on invasive alien predators to allow birds to nest in peace

SOTKA project concerning alien predators is composed of several subprojects that aim to make sure that birds are allowed to nest in peace. A particular focus is on removing alien predators such as minks and raccoon dogs from bird breeding areas. The planned measures include ongoing, location-specific capturing of these predators, boosted by crackdowns by professional hunters.

The SOTKA concept concerning intensive capturing of alien predators is a project led by the Finnish Wildlife Agency where an effective model is created for intensive capturing of alien predators in the archipelago and in wetland habitats of aquatic birds on the mainland. 

The aim of the SOTKA project concerning alien predators in the archipelago is to free the archipelago area from alien predators, both in nature conservation areas and outside these. The project is implemented by the Finnish Wildlife Agency, Nature and Game Management Trust Finland and Association for the Management and Protection of Archipelago Nature. Work is done in close cooperation with the Natural Heritage Services of Metsähallitus.

Capturing of small alien predators under the Helmi programme started in summer 2021. The aim of the Helmi programme for this government term is to restore 80 valuable aquatic bird habitats, while more than 60 sites are in need of effective prevention of alien predators. Some of the areas concerned are state-owned conservation areas and some are in private ownership. The capturing of alien predators under the Helmi programme takes place in cooperation between Metsähallitus, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Finnish Wildlife Agency, game management associations and landowners. In this work use is made of the lessons learned from the SOTKA concept concerning alien predators. 

SOTKA project – Cottage owners to eradicate alien predators encourages people with holiday homes close to valuable aquatic bird habitats to control alien predators. The responsibility for this project rests with the Finnish Hunters’ Association. The cornerstone of this project is close cooperation with local residents and hunters, but communication and advice have an important role as well. 

The European Federation for Hunting and Conservation FACE has already twice nominated Sotka-projects in it’s Biodoversity manifesto as project of the month