Report: Finland’s bear population is declining

Report: Finland's bear population is declining

According to a study published by the Natural Resources Center of Finland (Luke), the total number of bears in Finland is 2,250–2,400.

A report published before the hunting season that began in August found that Finland’s bear population was 16 percent lower than last year, when the number of bears was estimated to be between 2,670 and 2,800.

Over the last four years, the bear hunting quota has gradually increased and this policy has apparently halted the growth in the number of bears.

"This is in line with the stock growth target that started in 2014. However, the results have been mixed: the number of bears has fallen sharply in eastern Finland, where the hunting quota is high, while in western Finland the stock has risen slightly," Luke’s researcher Samuli Heikkinen said.

The quota was 457 in the hunting season 2021-2022, which was 73 more than in the previous season and 144 more than in the period 2019-2020.

Eastern Finland still has the largest bear population

Bear stock estimates are based on the number and size of bear litters.

For example, in 2021, 1,129 litters were found to have at least one puppy under one year old. The number of litters was believed to be about 212-246, and the total population estimate was calculated by multiplying this number by ten.

The Finnish bear population is also affected by cross-border movements, and the genetic diversity of the Finnish bear population changed between 1990 and 2021, when many bears moved from Russia.

Luke added that this migration of bears is one of the reasons for the relatively small changes in the bear population in Eastern Finland, which have not decreased significantly despite the high hunting quota.

Although Luke believes the increased quota affected the number of bears, researchers at the institute added that no long-term conclusions should be drawn from these findings. The full effect of strain growth measures may take years to become apparent due to bear lifespan and slow breeding cycles.

Source: The Nordic Page




Related Posts: