The large carnivore policy led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is guided by three key factors:
- Habitats Directive
- management plans
- the use of scientifically reliable information as a basis for decisions and measures.
There are four large land carnivore species in Finland: wolverine, lynx, bear and wolf. They are all protected at all times.
In certain special circumstances, the Finnish Wildlife Agency may grant a derogation allowing the capturing or killing of a wolverine, wolf, bear or lynx. The precondition for the derogation is that there is no other satisfactory solution and the decision is not detrimental to maintaining the species at a favourable conservation status in its natural range.
Under the Hunting Act, further provisions on the maximum allowable quarry numbers of large carnivores, the sex and age of individual quarry animals, and the area to which the restriction applies may be issued by a decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The decree limits the powers of the Finnish Wildlife Agency, which cannot derogate from the numbers specified. The maximum permitted hunting bag does not set a target for the number of kills that should be achieved. On the contrary, it limits the number of derogations the Finnish Wildlife Agency may grant for killing large carnivores.
Management plans have been drawn up for all populations of large land carnivores. The aim of the plans is to ensure the long-term, goal-oriented management of large carnivore populations, taking into account the views and interests of different stakeholders.
The Natural Resources Institute Finland’s population estimates are largely based on the carnivore observation system’s litter observations and other carnivore observations recorded by volunteers monitoring large carnivores. The population estimates are complemented with radio collar monitoring, DNA research and other monitoring activities carried out by The Natural Resources Institute Finland.